“When I look around this room, I see choices. Choices waiting to be made.”
So says Pierre Dulaine, New York dance instructor, played by Antonio Banderas in the movie Take The Lead.
I watched this film again recently and this line stood out to me. He was talking to those commonly known as the “school rejects,” kids who were attending detention for the remainder of the term. Kids from the projects, kids who make latch-key kids look happy and well adjusted. Kids who the world would tell had no future. In this true story of the power of change and the importance of choices, I realized how true this line really is.
The past has only one purpose, but many effects. The purpose of the past is to teach us for the future. The effects of the the past can include dragging us down, telling us we have no future, shackling ourselves to past mistakes and offenses with no hope of redemption. When we realize the past only exists to teach us, we are freed from the negative hold it has on many of us. We have choices facing us every day and each and every choice is a new chance to “do the right thing”, as it were.
Christians have it easiest when it comes to new chances. We believe that Salvation is an effective eraser of all that is bad in our past. A major tenet of Christianity is that Salvation is the covering of ALL past mistakes by the perfect blood of the perfect sacrifice. Even better that erasing, the sins are actually paid in full. There are no half-measures, no wait-and-see when it comes to a Christian’s forgiveness, we are free, completely. And we are given a new heart with which to make those choices which continue to face us every day.
For all of us, though, Christian and non-Christian alike, we face choices, and we must not fall into the death-grip of the past in making those choices. Did we screw up royally? It will still affect us but more powerful is the fact that now we know not to do it again, and we have a powerful negative deterrent to continuing in that wrong path. We face these choices no matter who we are. No matter our history or our situation, we are only bound by the power we each vest in our past.
These down-and-out children from inner-city New York saw through the working of one inspiring individual their ability to move beyond their small dreams and crushed hopes, resurrecting in themselves the golden flame of hope, renewed and inspiring once again.
One choice, though, stands above the rest, the choice to accept the freely offered gift of salvation through the death of Christ on the cross. This choice is with us our entire lives, and it is only removed from us by physical death. To make temporal choices is one thing, but to live free, now that is quite another.