God spoke to me recently through our church sermon on Gen 20:1-18 about Abraham committing the same sin of lying that his wife Sarah was his sister to Abimelech king of Gerar. I was convicted to bring before God my past sins and seek His forgiveness, and to seek closure and confession so that such things would not resurface because I had not dealt with it properly or definitively.

I was also reflecting on the recent allegation made by a male teacher of ACS (I) towards the recently retired Dr Ong Teck Chin, who had served the school in total for 23 years, as vice-principal (1988-94) and principal (1994-2010). He also serves as an elder at Bethesda (Frankel Estate) Church, and does counselling with the community. The world and media have in recent years been quick to jump on any opportunity of a scandal or juicy tabloid news of high-profile leaders or people in authority, especially within religious circles, both abroad and local. Think of former-US president Bill Clinton, New Life Church’s pastor and former-NAE president Ted Haggard, ex-NKF’s CEO T. T. Durai, ex-Ren Ci’s CEO Venerable Shi Ming Yi, City Harvest’s senior pastor Rev Kong Hee, ex-ACS (Barker) principal Ng Eng Chin, the list goes on. The main two hot buttons tend to be sexual impropriety and mishandling of finances, amidst other issues e.g plagiarism.

Not only do society and the press slam or come down hard when such scandals or allegations surface, Christians and churches, sad to say, also play their part in “shooting our own wounded.” This is not to say that there is no just cause to do so, especially when the facts of each case proves the individual as guilty, whether denied or admitted. I just lament that the approach we take tends to be no different from secular society or non-Christians. I am reminded of the Pharisees’ versus Jesus’ attitude towards sinners e.g. prostitutes, lepers, tax-collectors, as well as Jesus’ teachings as part of His sermon on the mount, about removing the log in our own eye before looking at the speck in our brother’s eye (Matt 7:1-5).

I was beginning to feel discouraged, wondering if one day my past mistakes would catch up with me. I’m glad that the very same night, I came across this entry by Perry Noble, about not allowing our past mistakes to rob us of an amazing future.

You have pain, regrets, frustrations and disappointment … and … the problem is that IF we are not careful we will allow our past ministry mistakes and shortcomings to define us rather than propel us to a greater understanding of Christ and the call that He placed on our lives … Our past only defines us when we lose sight of the future Christ has for us (Gal 6:9)

I promptly submitted my past to the Lord, and seeked forgiveness for areas of unconfessed sin, as well as renouncing my old sins and self, believing with faith that God would do His cleansing work as well as remove unhealthy shame and dwelling in discouragement and defeat, and rising again and standing firm on His promises, His word and His blood that cleanses me from all unrighteousness. I leave you with Paul’s encouragement in Phil 1:6

being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.