Pressing forward with no regrets
No one shares that, from the mid 40s onwards, individuals undergo a lot of self reflection about their lives.
It goes without saying that, if you’ve lived a relatively drama-free life, made wise decisions, and had all your prayers answered, looking back on your life is not painful at all.
However, if you’ve experienced drama, trauma, are haunted by poor decisions and mistakes you’ve made, or are still waiting on God to answer heartfelt prayers, then your reflections will be filled with pain, hurt and regret. Even anger.
It’s no wonder, then, that the Apostle Paul wrote: “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). He would have had much to regret, because he persecuted the church prior to his conversion. It’s good, however, that he recognised there was merit in pushing forward and not looking back, because no one can change the past, only learn from it.
And this is what we have to do when pain and regret come knocking on our door. We can’t change the past, but we can learn wisdom from the lessons it taught us and, if the occasion arises, share the wisdom we’ve gained with others who seem set to make similar mistakes.
And, in those instances where we are overwhelmed with guilt because of our bad behaviour or negatives decisions, we should confess our sins to God, and accept the forgiveness He freely offers to all.
Too few churches seem keen on addressing the key problem we have in the Black community at the moment, which is a moral decline, evidenced by our broken families, youth killings, gang crime, hopelessness and poverty.
Members of the Windrush Generation (WG) must be turning in their graves at some of the things happening in our community at the moment – things they most probably never conceived would occur.
One has to admire the courage and audaciousness of those West Indians who, in the late 1940s, 50s and 60s, left their homes and families in the sunny climates of the Caribbean, to travel across the Atlantic to take advantage of the work opportunities Britain was offering.
Husbands usually came first and, when they had saved enough money, sent for their wives and children. And together, they worked hard to build a life together and provide a strong foundation for their children, so that they could enjoy the benefits that came with living in England, such as getting access to free education; being able to get well-paid work; buy their own home and live a prosperous life.
In my view, the foundation laid by the WGs (as I call them) for their children and their children’s children was a good one. They may not have had a lot of material wealth, but they were rich in the values necessary to succeed in life, which they passed on to their children. They taught about the value of hard work; the importance of education; honesty, respect for self and others; faith in God and much more. Some have passed these values on, but many are disbanding them and existing in a kind of moral abyss, devoid of substance and direction.
Of late, there has been a lot of talk about what the African Caribbean community can take to combat some of its key issues. Surely one of the things that must take place is a return to our core roots and values.
Jeremiah 6:16 states: ‘This is what the LORD says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it
and you will find rest for your souls.”
But you said, “We will not walk in it.”’
In order to move forward, we’ll have to look back to reclaim and re-institute the values that our community once held dear.
It might be difficult to do, but not impossible. More importantly, it must be done. The WGs didn’t immigrate into the UK to just survive; they came so that we could thrive and prosper.
Our churches must be at the forefront of helping the community find that ancient good path, but find it we must, if we are to achieve all that the WGs prayed for with the next generation.
Pray big prayers
I don’t think many of us recognise the awesomeness of God, and the fact that He is really waiting on us to make big, bold audacious prayers that give Him an opportunity to demonstrate how truly great and wonderful He is – and blow our minds in the process.
Ephesians 3:20-21 states: ‘Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.’
Let’s stretch our imaginations and start to pray prayers that bring about God’s purposes on earth. Let’s pray for justice to reign. Let’s pray for the healing of relationships. Let’s pray for community and societal transformation, taking into consideration the fact that God is desirous to surpass our expectations. The question I’ve got to ask is: What’s stopping you from praying big prayers? God wants you to, so get praying!
BY MARCIA DIXON – A leading PR specialist and journalist