Forgetting What Lies Behind
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. Isaiah 43:18 (NIV)
What memory haunts you the most? We find this time of year brings a number of haunting images to our screens as Halloween approaches. Odd that we have a national celebration based around the theme of fear.
I can remember a couple of television shows that left haunting images in my mind. One had to do with child kidnappings. Another, an Alfred Hitchcock episode that has never left my memory.
Worse than those, however, are damaging events that have hurt us in some way. Most involve other people. Some linger well beyond our childhood.
I know several different Christian counselors and a few psychiatrists. However, I know nothing of their individual clients or the situations brought to their private sessions. It’s known that most who make the appointments are there to get help in processing painful situations that still impact them. They may be fighting difficult “demons” from their youth.
Some of our haunting memories are of our own doing. Burdens of addiction, unforgiveness, mistreatment, or a myriad of other weights seem to hold on even when unwanted.
The apostle Paul had his own haunting memories. He persecuted the early church and developed a reputation for it. He stood by and nodded in agreement at the stoning of Stephen. But it is Paul who calls us to mimic him in this way: “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” (Philippians 3:13, ESV)
Realizing his past could hold him back and weaken his witness, he turned his heart toward Jesus. And looked forward. Might we do the same? It’s incredibly healing. Letting go of the past can be extremely difficult. However, it truly is a part of spiritual growth. And from this arises our ability to help others.
Lord God, give me the courage to move beyond my past and live in the truth of today: that I am forgiven and loved by You completely and unconditionally. In Jesus’ Name, Amen