“Why don’t you shave off your beard, Jerry? You look like a criminal.” Hardly the kind of support you look for from your grandfather, but his true thoughts nonetheless. His simple statement sent my head spinning. “What would I look like without my beard?” I wondered.
So I shaved it off. After twenty years with a mustache, over twelve years with a beard of some sort, I shaved it all off.
I didn’t warn my wife about my date with the razor, I just did it. I went in to take a shower and when I came out I sprung my new face on her. To say she was underwhelmed is putting it mildly. She had the kind of look you get when somebody hands you food they made themselves and all you can think about is how to spit it out before you die.
She looked at me and said, “Oh… wow. You shaved it all off.” It’s pretty hard to sneak anything by her! What was your first clue, dear? The gaping hole in my chin that I hacked out with the razor? The faint glow of incandescent light glaring off the pasty lower half of my face?
Needing reassurance, I inclined my head for a kiss. She closed her eyes and murmured, “AAHH.” At first I thought she was being passionate. Then I realized I had mistaken alarm for excitement. Her riotous laughter was a pretty good tip. She muttered something about me not looking like the same guy and took off down the hall laughing and chuckling the whole way. Not the kind of response you want when you ask your wife for a kiss.
Of course I was the same guy, I just looked different. My face may have changed, but I was still the same guy.
Things change as a result of our decision to follow Christ. And just like shaving off my beard, the difference is readily apparent.
When we come to know Christ many things change in our lives. Things that used to be unimportant, like reading the Bible and prayer, are now vital to our existence. The things that used to be vital are no longer even necessary. Our whole life changes, and changes for the better.
After we change, we must still deal with our past. We are constantly bombarded with our past sins and failures. Every little thing we have ever done will come before our memories as Satan tries to shame us out of our relationship with Christ.
There was a story about a young orphan who was adopted by a family. The father kept the tattered, worn out shoes in the boy’s closet. The reason? “The child was just a poor orphan when we first saw him,” said the man. “He was in rags and very dirty, but his shoes were the worst of all. The upper parts were in tatters, and the soles had huge holes in them. We immediately gave him new clothes, but decided to keep those battered shoes as a reminder of how bad off he really had been. I put them in a closet nearby; and whenever our son complains or becomes unruly, I merely take them out to help him remember how much we’ve done for him.”
If you have come to know Christ, throw those old shoes out of your closet. You don’t need them anymore. They no longer fit your new life. God has peace and forgiveness for you. He doesn’t remember your sins any longer. They are gone forever, as far as the east is from the west, the Scripture tells us.
If Satan tries to remind you of your past, remind him of his future. The Bible tells us that he is a defeated foe, and he loses all in the end.
As for me, I grew my beard back. Unlike the hair that left the top of my head, the hair on the bottom of my chin did come back! I guess some changes are better than others.
Throwing away my razor, (Sorry, Grandpa!)… Jerry