Are you living in the past? Are you still contemplating all the things that could have been done better if you knew then what you know now? Are you letting what others did to you or those who came before you rent space in your head without getting anything but bitterness in return? It’s the battle of the mind we constantly fight and we need to stop. There is NOTHING about the past that you can change. NOTHING. And if you had to do it all over again with the same information you had at that time, guess what, you would have done the same thing with perhaps only minor differences.
This is why the Gospel of our salvation calls us hopefully forward. We are not a people defined by our PAST but by our FUTURE. Paul says, “we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior.” Philippians 3:20 (NLT).
Who are you? You are a CITIZEN of heaven. Before you are any particular color, before you are male or female, before you are rich, poor, employee, executive, or business owner, YOU are a citizen of the world to COME. Therefore you cannot remain a prisoner of the past. And if you want to serve God rightly, eagerly long for that which is to come instead of letting bitterness creep into your heart from what has previously happened.
The wisest man (outside of Christ) who ever lived agrees:
Ecclesiastes 7:10 (ESV) Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
You cannot put an old head on young shoulders. So stop fretting over what you could have done better. Rather, look at your life with anticipation at what God is going to do in you today that will leverage and redeem whatever the enemy, others or your own stupid decisions meant for evil. You must remember the bloodstained cross stood as a symbol of execution and torment until our Savior hung from it. The very instrument Rome used to intimidate people into submission and allegiance has become the sign of God’s work to transform your heart and make you a new person. In the cross, human evil is turned into Divine intervention and today the cross of Christ sits in the historical turn of the ages.
If the Gospel is about all of that, what evil in your past can stop God from leveraging it for your good?
Some of you are still kicking yourselves over what you allowed unbelief to do and rob from you. You cannot undo those events, but you can let God use them as tools for your future and help others who may be similarly struggling.
Some of you are still berating that foolish college choice, boyfriend or girlfriend, and perhaps even marriage vow. Don’t let that become an open door to an everlasting pity party. It won’t help you or those around you. In fact, it will stop you from serving others by turning you inward.
Some of you are letting where you came from define you more than where you are going. Again, in Christ, your citizenship has changed. Let that sink in deeply so that you can love others freely and embrace God’s future with open hands and a hopeful heart. Time moves relentlessly forward. So should you. And in Christ, you must.