What would you think if I told you I recently bought a used car without driving it? I never sat in it, never even unlocked the door. You might think I was irresponsible, even foolish.
This decision was easy, however, because I trusted the person selling it to me. I knew he had my best interests in mind.
The car in question - a small SUV actually - was a model I'd asked him to find some 18 months ago.
I thought he'd forgotten about me - but the phone rang about a month ago with the message, "Simon, your car is in."
I admit it was rather surreal exchanging my conventional sedan for the truck and driving it in traffic for the first time. What's with all these dials on the dashboard? I've quickly become accustomed to the vehicle and have figured out most of the controls - with the help of the owner's handbook.
It's about a decade old - with 100,000 km - and as I drive it, I've been reflecting on not only the sound recommendation from my friend, but also on the truck's origins, its past.
Who purchased it new? Am I the second, third or even fourth owner? The body is in almost perfect condition and the upholstery and carpet are hardly worn. Previous owners were non-smokers and serviced it regularly.
According to my friend, the truck has been well cared for it - it was never driven off road (in spite of being a four wheel drive).
While my curiosity might be somewhat innocuous, I nonetheless think we could all wonder about the history of a used car we have purchased. I trusted my friend's recommendation, but in many instances, the background of a used car can be quite elusive - which unfortunately may impact its reliability.
People are infinitely more complex - and valuable - of course, but I do think we find ourselves reflecting on their history and what causes them to behave as they do.
A colleague at the office may have a bad temper which can flare up with very little provocation. Is there something in his background that causes him to become so angry?
A woman at the club or gym appears depressed much of the time. Is she feeling lonely or isolated?
A couple may not be getting along, to the point of considering separation; is there an unresolved issue that is causing them to struggle in their relationship?
A counsellor once told me, "All behaviour makes sense when you know what causes it."
Families, in particular, can be tormented by a unresolved past event; forgiveness would make things right but pride often gets in the way.
How about you? As you consider your life today and the way you deal with relationships, can you see a pattern which you can attribute to issues of the past?
Is there a root of bitterness which causes you to be cynical and callous? Do you blame others for past mistakes rather than take responsibility for your actions?
The Bible speaks about this when it says, "As far as the East is from the West, so far has He removed his transgressions from us."
The solution for our present struggles is to call out to God and declare our need for Him. Our past wrongdoings will be removed forever.
The best-known verse in the Bible, John 3: 16, says it well, "For God so loved the world that He give His only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
Christ - who was perfect - accepted death on a cross for you personally to take away all your sins - the bad things you've done. And He rose from the dead to give you a new beginning.
Why not trust God through Christ to come into your life today? Now would be the best time to confess your need for Him and receive the forgiveness you have been seeking.
- Simon Gibson writes Faith That Matters which appears weekly in the Abbotsford-Mission Times.