Yesterday is Gone

The Beatles made a huge hit singing “Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away”. And others waxed poetic about how “Yesterday’s gone” and how they remember “Yesterday when I was young” and so on.

Yesterday’s Hold

The reason “yesterday” has such a hold on people’s lives is that we all carry the past into the present and beyond that into the future. Yesterday is the time we sowed certain things into our lives and today we reap the harvest. So yesterday is a powerful component of ‘today’ and it will still be making its presence felt when we get to tomorrow.

The Catholic Church teaches people to go to confession to deal with the sins of yesterday. Someone sneered at the habit of some who sin during the week and look for forgiveness in the confessional on the weekend. They said it was like sowing wild oats all week and then praying for a crop failure.

The Hindu faith respects the baggage of yesterday as karma, which we carry not only through this life, but into future lives which Hindus believe they will face. Gautama Buddha, who rejected the Hindu teaching of reincarnation, went so far as to say that we cannot remove our Karma even in a thousand lifetimes.

Yesterday’s Debris

Here are just a few of the things we bring with from yesterday, even though yesterday is gone.

We bring our disappointments from yesterday. We face disappointments with others, such as our parents and family. But we also face disappointments with ourselves.

We bring our broken relationships from yesterday. Once we have offended someone else or they have offended us that damage remains, often throughout life. Family reunions and community life become tinged with the hurt and offence that we feel toward others and they feel toward us.

We bring our compromises from yesterday. Once we have compromised our values and character that becomes a weak spot for us from that time on.

We bring our slaveries from yesterday. When we give in to sin, such as anger, pride, jealousy or lust, that thing enslaves us and it controls us throughout our lives.

Today’s Harvest

It is also true, as the Bible teaches, that our actions and choices involve us sowing seeds in our lives. A seed not only remains, but it germinates and produces a whole crop. So when we sow something into our life, we are setting up a harvest in the future.

Today’s harvest is filled with the fruit of the things we planted yesterday. If we planted selfishness, pride, anger, greed, violence, self-pity, wilfulness, addiction, lies or other evil things, we will have an evil harvest today.

If we planted forgiveness, faith, love, trust, humility and the fear of God then we will have a much better harvest today than others might have.

Yesterday is not ‘Gone’

While the songs might say, “yesterday’s gone” it isn’t true. Yesterday has passed, but it has not ‘gone’. Yesterday lives with you today.

Just as yesterday’s piano lessons undergird today’s musicianship and yesterday’s studies undergird today’s understanding, yesterday’s moral choices undergird today’s character.

Transforming Yesterday

“You can’t go back in time” is one way to look at it. “What’s done is done!” might be your way of dismissing the past. But there are powerful ways of unlocking the past and transforming yesterday. Let me briefly outline two of them.

Confession of Sin is a powerful way to unlock and transform yesterday. When you repent of the choices you made in the past God is able to set you free from the debris and consequences of those choices in the present. You can actually get a crop failure, even though you sowed lots of wild oats.

God can go back in time. While you are stuck in the time-space continuum, God exists outside of time. So He is able to go back to your past and make Himself present, bringing healing to things that are part of your yesterday that has ‘gone’ from you.

A Testimony

A friend of mine named Malcolm visited a lady who had chronic problems. When he prayed for her she had a vision of a baby crying in a cot. She realised that she was seeing herself as a tiny baby. She sensed the extreme distress of the baby and it connected with the pain that kept surfacing in her life.

A spirit of intercession came on Mal and he began to weep for her. As he did she saw in her vision that the door to the baby’s room opened and Jesus walked in. Jesus lifted the baby into His arms and as He did the woman felt all her pain and torment drain from her life.

It was as if Jesus was able to go back in time to the entry point of the woman’s troubles and resolve them, even though that was now many years past.

Saying Good-bye to Yesterday

If yesterday has brought its bad baggage with it into your today then be encouraged to say “Good-bye” to that stuff. You can remove it forever by confession and by asking the Lord to unlock and heal your past.

The Steps to Release, which I have written about in my books and in other posts, will be helpful in this process.

I want you to live in the freedom with which Christ has made you free. I want you to be able to say, in all reality, that Yesterday is Gone! Keep all that is good from yesterday and unlock and remove all that is bad. Once you’ve said “Good-bye” to yesterday’s rubbish you will have an even better future to look forward to.

Tribal Rules & Regulations

I spoke with an Australian Aboriginal leader last week who told me about a Tribal justice process used in some Aboriginal communities. When an offender has done wrong and is worthy of the censure of the community that person can choose to face a beating by the community. The person must stand in the centre of a group and be beaten, possibly to death, by others in the tribe.

Many times this form of ‘justice’ results in the death of the individual. Other times the person is permanently disabled, crippled or seriously affected by the severity of the beating. This is tribal justice. It is part of the tribal rules and regulations which developed over time to regulate behaviour in the group.

One line of thought about such rules is that they are somehow ideal, because they developed out of the journey of that group of people. Sentiment seems stirred in some quarters today, to elevate the local traditons of tribal groups around the world, to a place of worthy preservation. The imposition of western law or other rules and regulaions is contemptible to these people. On the other hand, just as there are good and bad ways to cook, grow crops, run a business, manage finances, drive a car, or whatever, there are good and bad rules and regulations. Just because something is ‘tribal’ does not make it good or bad.

In the early 1980’s, as pastor of a church in New Zealand, I was approached by a mother with grave concern about her daughter. She detected evidence of her daughter being sexually abused. She told me that in the tribal background of her husband there was a history of incest, as somehow an endorsed tribal behaviour. Obviously such a thing was not publicly acknowledged, but it was understood by the insiders. In the absence of evidence and in the face of the father’s denials the matter never went to prosecution.

Is such behaviour to be preserved as a tribal cultural icon? Is sexual abuse OK because it fits within Tribal Rules and Regulations? Absolutely not!

While tribal rules and regulations are the easiest for members of the tribe to subscribe to, since the people have been enculturated with those rules, the rules do not and should not be maintained when they perpetrate abuse or evil. Ah… but there’s the rub! How do you know what is ‘abuse’ or ‘evil’? Despite the popularity for obfuscation of such things, the answer is remarkably simple. We simply apply the ‘fear of God’. Since God is the ultimate authority we simply refer back to His holy rules and regulations and modify our own rules and regulations to be consistent with His.

Overcome by Evil

Today there was an altercation in the street. Someone had pulled their car over while they answered a mobile phone call. They happened to pull over to a spot where there were parking restrictions. I can only guess that they had nowhere else to pull over and they did not want to miss the call. It is illegal to drive and talk on the phone in this area.

The home owner saw the car and came out to abuse the driver, telling him to move on. The driver refused to move on, as he did not wish to end the phone call. The home owner, who obviously took the parking restriction quite seriously, continued to abuse the driver and even attempted to break the car headlights. The driver got out of his car and punched the man kicking his car. The man hit back and others came to break up the fight.

A sad situation for all involved and one that is repeated frequently each day, in road rage, domestic abuse, work-place fights, pub-brawls, school-yard scuffles and so on. While it can be tricky at times to work out where the blame rests, especially when two people have acted violently, there is a Biblical principle which speaks to this situation. The principle is that of being ‘overcome by evil’. 

Evil presents itself to us frequently and from several sources. A major source of evil is the human heart. Out of the human heart come such things as violence, anger, abuse, lust, greed, and so on. It is perfectly common for people to be overcome by evil that springs from their own heart. They may feel frustrated in some way, such as having someone else innocently get in their way. While no offence was intended the person who is frustrated may react with rage, physical violence, resentment or the like. That happens to us all quite frequently – when we are tempted to react wrongly to a situation.

If our internal response is to be jealous or angry, then we have to make a choice to either resist that response or to go with it. If we yield to it we are ‘overcome by evil’. If we resist it we are able to rule our own spirit and maintain freedom. Cain was told by God to resist the internal response of jealousy which he felt toward his brother Abel. Cain yielded to his internal inclination and became the first murderer.

At times we are the innocent person who inadvertently gets in someone else’s way. We frustrate or irritate people, often quite unwittingly. We may drive into a parking spot which they intended to take. We may buy the last item in the rack, which they were about to buy. We may drive into the traffic and block them from entering the vacant spot that we took. We may be happy when they are feeling unhappy. We may be enjoying a meal, when they are feeling hungry.

At such times that other person may have a wrong reaction, where evil springs from within them. They may want to fight us, argue with us, rebuke or reject us. When we confront such situations we are faced with yet another opportunity to resist evil. The confrontation will provoke us to a new level of reaction. We can buy into the argument, stand up and fight, hurl back abuse, or otherwise join in the evil exchange. When we do we are ‘overcome by evil’. This time we are overcome by someone else’s evil.

The Bible instructs us to not be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good. The challenge for both the men who ended up fighting over the parked car was to resist evil and to overcome it with good. Neither did so and both suffered the consequences of an ugly situation.