Leaving the Past Behind
Do you ever kick yourself for your past mistakes? I do. I try not to do it because it is unproductive, but it remains a temptation when I make a blunder that I thought I had learned not to make. Evidently I am not alone because other people tell me they do the same thing. What is it about human beings and their inability to let the past be the past? Of course we need to learn from our mistakes, but having done so, why do we then form a weapon out of our mistakes with which to bash ourselves? Is it not bad enough that others will not allow us to forget? Must we remind ourselves of our own failures?
Nevertheless, many live their lives with little or no joy, or personal confidence because past errors have become a weight around their necks. Their past failures plague their lives and haunt their minds. The decision to move forward is often set aside because of the feeling of uncertainty and fear about their ability to make the right choices. Bound up, fearful and frustrated many do their best to just move on with life - yet they remain focused on the past.
Yet, in our relationship with Jesus Christ, we are able to lay aside our past mistakes and focus on the One who does not fail and the work that He wants to do in our lives. As Paul said, "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14 NIV In another place he gives his reason for his personal confidence when he writes, "Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God." 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 NIV
Out of one's spiritual experience God is able, not only to heal and save the eternal soul, but also to give personal direction and confidence with which one can live his life - in spite of mistakes. Realizing that it is most often only we who are holding ourselves in bondage to past mistakes, Christ seeks to set us free from the past and give us newness of life through Himself. (John 10:10)
Sadly for some, their lives often conform to their misdirected manner of thinking. Unable or unwilling to forgive themselves they seem to sink further and further into the pit of despair and hopelessness because they have become obsessed with how they have failed in the past. The good news, however, is that we can be set free from that defeated way of thinking. In Christ, all predetermined notions of future failure are nullified. We are given a clean slate and a new opportunity to become more than we have previously been in life. In Christ, the past is transformed from a legacy of failure to a learning experience that we can build upon.
Can faith really make that much of a difference? Yes, I believe that it can. There is power in believing that, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31b There is even greater power in allowing God's power and the guidance of His Word to transform us into what we had previously only hoped we could be Why not let the past be the past today?