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May 31, 2022

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22, NIV).

He is a sharp, talented colleague with whom I work. His son had been suffering with pain for four years. Neither chiropractor nor medical doctors had come up with a solution. Now the truth is out, and the tumor has been removed. He sat in my office talking in circular ways about the long, drawn-out process he and his son had endured to reach the conclusion that finally made his son whole. He talked about the system and the doctors and his frustration at it all. He didn’t talk about the one thing he came to tell me. As he was leaving, I asked him, “Do you feel guilty that you didn’t help him earlier?” “Yes!!!” he answered.

So many of us live with guilt. As she became older, my mother often voiced regrets about the way she raised us. When she did, I would simply ask, “How many of your children turned out bad?” It was a question for which she had no answer.

What good is the past when we see our mistakes slinking through it? I remember the patient I overdosed with chemotherapy as a fellow. I remember shouting at the CT tech who was unkind to one of my patients, and I remember the two hours it took me to overcome the harm I caused with the shouting. I remember giving up, living proud and sharp replies to those I love. I remember my own wonderful daughter, the mistakes I made and her difficulty with life for so many years. I remember harm I caused and harm that was not my fault that left me feeling guilty anyway.

What good is looking back on bad behavior in our lives?

For one, looking back on our mistakes allows us to understand that we should never repeat them. We can reevaluate our present situation based on lessons learned from the past and become better people for the future.

Sometimes looking back allows us to attend an injury we have caused. We cannot reverse the injury, but we might be able to seek forgiveness, dress a still-open wound or restore a broken relationship.

Also, when we review our harmful mistakes, it makes us less harsh with those who have made the same mistakes. It gives us a bit more grace toward others when we realize that we, like others, can hurt people when we follow our fallen human nature.

What’s more, when I look back and see my bad choices and sinful behavior, it helps me comprehend the beauty and value of the cross. In fact, even now, when my sin becomes most apparent, the cross looms largest on my path, and I realize again my gratitude for salvation.

So, it is certainly best to not do bad things, make bad decisions, harm ourselves and harm others. But those of us saved by the cross should not look back with a guilt that has been lifted from our shoulders to His. We should look back for lessons learned and look forward to healing wounds and living better, with more grace for others and more gratitude for the cross.

Dear God,
Help me to learn from my past, live better and kneel guilt free at the foot of the cross.

Al Weir, MD

Al Weir, MD

After leaving academic medicine, Dr. Weir served in private practice at the West Clinic in Memphis, Tennessee from 1991-2005 before joining the CMDA staff as Vice President of Campus & Community Ministries where he served for three years from 2005-2008. He is presently Professor of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Program Director for the Hematology/Oncology fellowship program. He is also President of Albanian Health Fund, an educational ministry to Albania where he has been serving for 20 years. He is the author of two books: When Your Doctor Has Bad News and Practice by the Book. Dr. Weir’s work has also been published in many medical journals and other publications. Al and his wife Becky live in Memphis, Tennessee, and they have three children and three grandchildren. Dr. Weir is currently serving on CMDA's Board of Trustees.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar Garrett on June 2, 2022 at 7:03 am

    Thank you, this was very pertinent this morning. Satan was busy reminding for evil, the Spirit used this to turn it for good.

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