I wasn't very nice.
So years passed and then I actually went back to God. Back to church. Back to the life I should have been living. It was only then that I felt like a hypocrite. For the good life I was living, not the bad life I'd lived. My friends knew me as one person, but here I was, acting like some goody-goody who'd gotten her life together (but it wasn't an act). The word "hypocrite" may have even passed my friends' lips, so I got it into my head that this Christian life seemed hypocritical of me, given all I'd done in my past.
Yesterday, I read about Paul in the book of Acts (21-22, if you're interested). Paul gets up in front of an angry mob (who wants him arrested and killed) to explain who he is. He tells of the horrible things he used to do to Christians—all the persecution and imprisonment. He hunted down followers of Jesus.
He wasn't very nice.
Then, all of a sudden, Jesus appeared to him. He was a changed man. No longer a monster, Paul now encouraged others to follow Jesus. He did a complete turnaround.
But I've never pictured Paul as a hypocrite. Paul is an amazing story of redemption! How it's possible for even the most Christian-hating person in the world to see the light (literally, in Paul's case) and become a Christian. Paul's not a hypocrite; he's a man who's life was changed for the better, and then he had an incredible impact on the world.
Why can't I see myself that way? Why do I assume that Old Rachel is the "real" Rachel and that this new Rachel is surely a masquerade? That's not the case. When you change your life—really change it—the new you is the only you.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! - 2 Corinthians 5:17
It doesn't say, "The old is still around and the new part is just layered on top of it, you hypocrite." The old is gone. Completely. Adios. Elvis has left the building.
I'm new. The Old Rachel has gone, the New Rachel is here. And I welcome her with open arms.
Do you have a hard time letting go of your past?
P.S. - I typed the word "hypocrite" so much for this post that it no longer looks like a word to me. Random.