We have all seen comments on social media that say something like: Do not judge me because you do not know what I have been through. We often do not know exactly what people are referring to when they post such things. From the way they phrased the post, we may suspect they have done something wrong that they think people will judge them for. Since they do not want to be judged, they appeal to the pain of their past as an excuse for their current poor behavior.
This is a faulty line of reasoning. While some people have had more pain than others, everyone has something in their past that caused them pain. If we allow the pain of our past to be an acceptable excuse for present poor behavior, then we can justify almost any manner of bad behavior.
Appealing to the pain of our past does not help anyway. Whatever current poor behavior we have engaged in is not making things better. Instead such behavior is so negative that it is causing people to judge us, or at least cause us to feel like we should be judged. We may not have been able to control what happened to us in the past, but we can control how we act today. While it is true that people should not judge each other, it is also true that we should not engage in behavior that deserves judging.
Instead of playing the pain card, we should begin to address the pain of our past and learn to deal with it in positive ways. There are countless examples of people who went through horrific experiences in life but choose to become better instead of bitter. Such overcomers choose to use the pain of the past as a motivation to be a comforting voice to others. They choose to be victors instead of victims. We all have a history, but our history should motivate us to engage in self-improvement, not in self-justification of poor behavior.
Lord, help us move beyond the pain of our past and live lives worthy of our calling to be Christians. Amen.