I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone claim a saying or a motto as their own. They say that they live their life by this motto or that motto. A number of them are not really motto’s as such, but some are. Going into the new year a good motto to live 2018 by is ” Forget the past and look forward to what lies ahead “. What better way to live in the ” today ” and press towards the future then to shed the weight of the past!
How many people have things in the past that continue to hold them back year after year, decade after decade never letting them go? How many do this willingly and how many suffer this because those around them won’t let them forget? The only way to look forward is to not look back.
We’ve all made mistakes, but those mistakes don’t define us. They are lessons and experiences that shape and mold us. They make up the life experience that we view the world through. The only thing that defines us is us. You define yourself, no one else does unless you give them permission.
A few quotes about looking to the past and looking at the future:
” Remember not the former things, neither consider the past. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! “.
” Don’t long for the good old days, this is not wise “.
” Let your eyes look straight ahead and your eyelids look forward. ”
The point with these is the past is like a marble placed in a jar that is tied to a tree. You are the monkey that wants that marble, you stick your hand in the jar to grab the marble. Now you made a fist to hold onto it and can’t get your hand out of the jar. Your stuck there unable to move on until the hunter ( life ) comes along and knocks you out. Yes, holding onto the past is that silly.
You notice how when life is knocking you down those around you sympathize? You notice how when you are starting to turn things around those same people start criticizing you, telling you that you can’t do it, you’re not good enough? They are like crabs in a bucket. One tries to get out the others try to pull you back in. Those people are not our friends. With friends like that, who needs enemies? Part of forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead is forgetting the people who were part of your past. It’s better to be momentarily lonely while you build a new life then to be surrounded by those who will keep reminding you of your failures.
That short time alone will be one of the best gifts you ever gave yourself. It will remove all the clutter and noise from others that have kept you from the quiet times that teach you who you really are. So many people don’t know what they really like and dislike because they have been following the crowd they run with. You might be surprised at what you like and don’t like.
Now, all the quotes so far have come from the Bible. Imagine that! Wisdom that makes sense today from a book compiled from letters dating back thousands of years. The first quote was from the Apostle Paul and is found in Philippians 3:13. The next is from Isaiah 43:18-19. Then Ecclesiastes 7:10 and finally Proverbs 4:25.
A few more words of wisdom from the Bible about looking to the past. In Luke Jesus said that anyone who has put their hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God. When you think about this it makes sense. If you keep looking back, how straight will your path or plowed row be? It won’t be straight at all. It will be curved and meander all over the place. You will completely miss the mark you were aiming for. It’s like driving a car while only looking in the rear view mirror. It won’t be long until you run off into the ditch or hit someone else.
Some people will keep telling you that you’re a drunk or a druggie. They might say you’re a whore or worthless. They may say your financially irresponsible or once poor you’ll always be poor. They may say you’re a liar and a cheat. They may tell you that you’re an adulterer and don’t deserve it. Those are the ones you need to get rid of. If you are a follower of Jesus you are made new. It tells us that in 2 Corinthians 5:17 ” Therefor, if anyone is in Christ they are a new creation; old things have passed away, behold all things are new. “. Another way to say it this, anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone, a new one has begun!
This means you were an addict, but not now. Look to the future!
You might have been an adulterer, but not now. Look to the future!
You might have been a liar and a cheat, but not any longer. Look to the future!
This is why I have a problem with 12 step programs. They are good intentioned and have helped millions, but they always throw your failure in your face everytime you go to a meeting and stand up saying ” Hi, I’m Tom and I’m an alcoholoc “. That’s living in the past defeats. If you are a child of God, a follower of Christ Jesus you are made whole, made new, no longer an alcoholic or whatever addiction it is. Not to say the struggle might not still be there. It might, but you are not that thing anymore.
Any New Years resolution you make will ultimately fail or be tainted by the past as long as you are willing to hold on to that marble. Let it go and build the new life, the better future. Despite some consequences from the past that may still be with you, you are not defined by that unless you want to be.
Grab 2018 by the horns, put away the things of the past and look to the future!