The power of new beginnings
When I was in my early twenties I spent much of my free time volunteering. The most meaningful of these activities was in a drug addiction rehabilitation centre called “Fresh Start”, run by an inspiring Christian doctor who treated predominantly drug addicts.
It was run with a Christian ethos of charity, care and compassion – which resonated with my perception of the character of Christ and the Good News of the Bible. God has not only provided us with a “Fresh Start” through Jesus – he did this without judgement and an unlimited supply. By understanding this undeserved good for ourselves, we can be filled with the power of the Spirit to love others in the same way.
The importance of first impressions
First impressions are very important, and exciting. As a scientist, my career depends as much on my reputation as it does my research. After 2 years I am starting a new job, with new people to impress, and many possible mistakes along the way.
Unfortunately it is very rare that you will get to overcome others’ first impressions of you clarify yourself or make up for a mistake, and my reputation can change in an instant. The next few weeks may very well determine my next few years. However, this is completely different from how God views us.
God understands how flawed we are, and also understands that we can never be perfect. But because he loves us he gave us Jesus, so our sins can be forgiven – over and over again. The power of God’s love is completely transformative, because nothing is held against us.
There is nothing we can do today which cannot be undone tomorrow by the power of God’s grace. Unconditional “fresh starts” allow us to live with the knowledge that we are flawed, whilst at the same time knowing that we are loved regardless of what we go. This, I believe, is at the heart of Christian charity.
Forgiveness is central to charity
We have the power every day to help others understand God’s love for us. For each slight against us there is a new opportunity to forgive. For each conflict there is an opportunity to bring peace. Choosing not to hold something against another is immensely powerful, and is an undeniable sign of love.
We have done so much wrong in our lives, yet if we ask for it, our sins are washed clean and we are made anew. I would like to encourage you to make a conscious decision to give people in your life a “Fresh Start”, so that they too may ultimately know the love of God.
Nathanael Yates is a Neuroscience Researcher from Perth, Western Australia. He is constantly inspired by his astonishingly wise and beautiful wife and his adorable daughter.
Nathanael Yates' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/nathanael-yates.html