I just finished reading The Unforgiving Minute, by Craig Mullaney. It is a story a young man’s story of going through West Point and becoming an officer in the Army. The first half of the book is a “coming-of-age” story about his life and training, which certainly gave me a greater sense of appreciation for our soldiers and what they go through. While serving in Afghanistan, his infantry platoon was caught in a deadly firefight with a-Qaeda fighters and one of the soldiers in his unit was killed. This is the “unforgiving minute.” Captain Mullaney fights with his own demons and feelings concerning the battle and struggles to relieve himself from the guilt of loosing one of his men. The book is riveting and connecting.
When I finished the book, I could not help but wonder how all of us have “unforgiving minutes” in our lives. We make mistakes; we misjudge; and sometimes people get hurt. We cannot seem to let go of that moment – it plays over and over like a broken record (for those who remember what they were). And those moments seem to be replayed at the most defeating times. Sometimes they are replayed when all is well, but you can’t help but think that you are going to mess things up again. Sometimes they are replayed when you are in similar situations and they create a defeatist mindset. Other times they are rehearsed when you make other mistakes and you begin to think of yourself as a looser and a fake. Satan uses these moments as a weapon against you. Since he is a liar, he twists those moments in your mind and hinders all your spiritual growth.
The great news for all of us is that Jesus is the Great Redeemer. He not only forgives, he renews our mind so that we can live again without fearing the haunting past. Although we can never relive the past and change the consequences, we can live in the hope of a forgiving God. Here are a couple of thoughts that keep me sane during these unforgiving memories:
1. There is only one savior and I am not Him. We are all fallen and need his forgiveness.
2. Satan is a liar. Defeating thoughts will come and go, but don’t allow Satan to expand them beyond the reality.
3. Godly people bring the voice of God. Processing defeating thoughts with people who are close to Christ brings hope and correction.
4. God wants to change me. He wants to me to learn from my mistakes and grow in Him.
5. The Word works! In moments of defeatist thinking, the Bible reminds me that I am not so different from the people in the Bible: same struggles, same temptations, same thoughts and same mistakes; and throughout history God has worked to redeem them – and me! What a great God I serve!
With a Grateful Heart,