Written By: Julie-Ann Sanderson
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, – Philippians 3:13
Memories are something we all have in common. We remember the good times; the bad experiences; family and friends who are no longer with us; and so forth. While memories themselves are not a terrible thing, it is how we react and use them that can be.
The biggest mistake a lot of people make is to cling onto memories for one reason or another. Some do it because they wish for life to be like it was back then. Others hold on to past hurts which result in them having grudges or seeking revenge. There are also some who refuse to let go of the past as they are too afraid to face the future.
Whatever the reasons are for hanging onto the past, one thing is certain that in the long run, it can be unhealthy. People who keep looking back are in danger of losing their lives completely. They get depressed because things aren’t the way they used to be. For those who hold grudges and seek revenge, it leads to anger and resentment as they are unwilling to forgive and move on. They can get so caught up in the past that they lose sight of others and themselves.
God doesn’t want you to live in the past. He doesn’t want to miss out on all the things that the future holds for you. The past helps us to grow but it shouldn’t shape our future. Our focus should be what is ahead, not on what is behind. If we don’t change this then we are in danger of standing still forever in the one place. Lot’s wife in Genesis learnt this the hard way when she turned to look at her past in Sodom.
Even though the past helps us to become the people we are now, it shouldn’t define us and it shouldn’t stop us moving forward. We can learn from the past but we can learn more from the future. Wishing things were like they were will not help make things improve. Our Creator created us for better things and living in the past is not one of them.
Forgiveness plays a key role in letting the past go. As the old saying goes, we should forgive and forget. Those who hold grudges or are out to avenge the past hurts need to forgive others just as God has forgiven them so that they can step into the future without the burdens of the past holding them back. The longer you stay in the past the harder it will be for you to let it go.
Paul tells us in Philippians that we must forget what is behind and keep our focus on what is ahead. Looking backwards is something that is not in God’s plan for you. What He wants for you is in front of you. All you have to do is let go, turn around, face forwards and walk towards it.