Friday, July 9, 2010

Ouch, what was that for?...Doesn't matter because it's in the Past!

My headline is from a beloved movie the Lion King. Grown Simba is talking to wise Raffiki about the mistakes and regrets from the past. How he can't go back or forward in life because of the things that he has done in his life. Raffiki interrupts this speech by wacking Simba on the head. Simba cries out, "Ouch! What was that for?" And Raffiki replies..."It doesn't matter, it's in the past!"

That easy is it? It doesn't matter, it's in the past. Not an easy concept at all I can tell you that from experience! I recently shared conversations with several others about everyones pasts and experiences in life. And believe me when I say that the last thing on my mind when it was my time to share was it doesn't matter. We all carry the weight of our choices and decisions in life around with us where ever we go. They are always with us....sometimes rearing their heads at the most inopportune times. We walk into our jobs, our churches, our home lives, and our relationships with our loved ones with them. Sometimes we find that the past controls our future and keeps us from moving forward (like in the movie). Sometimes we find that they spur us on forward with the wrong intentions or approaches. And then we are right back where we did not want to be in the first place.....face to face with the past!

Why do you suppose the past controls us so much? Why do we dwell? Why can't we seem to move on and let go at times? Why can't we realize that even though the past is a part of who we are, we should learn from it instead? That's what I want to talk about about. I don't want to dwell on the things that we can't change, but on the hope that we have that lies ahead if we can take hold of it.

There's a little prayer called the serenity prayer:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

This is the perfect example to illustrate what I am getting at here. The truth of the matter is that we cannot go back and change the past! We CANNOT! It's not within our ability, so then why do we dwell on the if only's? This is a topic that hits very close to home with me. I am one that will take my mess ups, bad decisions and mistakes to heart...I can't seem to let them go. Not only not letting them go, but even gripping on to them so tight that my knuckles turn white. This seems a bit extreme. Ask yourself what you do when your past whatevers won't go do you handle it? Really.

Let me tell you what God says about it and what to do. Psalm 103:10-12 says, "he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."

If our past is as far away from us as it could possibly get...I don't know about you, but I find extreme relief in that! Knowing that I am no longer defined by the actions of my former life and past is the most relieving thing that I can possibly comprehend. You see, God does not see the sin in our lives whether past or present because of our savior Christ Jesus! It's his blood that covers us and God can no longer see the sin, but instead sees his son Jesus who is blameless and without sin. What a beautiful thought that the issues of our past longer exists when we accept and give our lives over to God!

1 John 1:7 - "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."

Not just some....but ALL sin! Take hold of this promise. Don't hold on to the things of your past that will continue to hold you back or bring you down. Let your relationship to Jesus bring you to the sight that the things of your past are forgiven and you are to move forward in step with our Lord, Jesus! Let go! Because what God says to us is..."Precious child you are now mine, your past no longer exists because of my son! Rejoice!"


  1. You know, I agree--I have fallen into past dwelling often as well. I'll use a silly example: after a sporting event, perhaps basketball, if I didn't play a perfect game (let's face it...hmmm...that was every game, of course!), I would mull over that one play or plays that I made the slightest of mistakes on. I would replay it over and over in my head...sometimes I would even be up half the night, lying in my bed, wanting to go to sleep, but actually sweating as I saw the play in my head and tried to make the right, talk about trying to change the past. And I wasn't actually trying to change the past, but I was so fixated on it, that it was all I could see or think about. (visualization actually has a purpose in sports, but this is way off base from healthy visualization)
    That can happen in much more serious situations, as well, to your point. What I've found over the years goes back to an old principle that I've heard preachers speak about: have you ever tried to not think about something. Quick, don't think about chocolate..................don't think about it.............haha, you're thinking about it. The key to keeping our eyes, ears, and minds off of destructive things (pasts, or present temptations) is not to aim at "not thinking about them," but instead filling your mind with something else. If you dive into a book or flip on the TV, it helps you divert away from what is plaguing your mind. Going further, sincerely diving into the Word or engaging in fervent prayer is a sure way to divert your thoughts. I would suggest starting your prayer with the very thing you are dwelling on...that past thing...and as you continue to pray, allow your mind to hear God and focus on all those around you that need prayer...and focus on His goodness and pure love. Soon enough, He'll be setting our eyes, hearts, and minds on something much greater--Himeself, yes...and also our present and immediate next step that He wills us to do and to think about.
    Additionally, we know we are to be filled by God and His Holy Spirit. I think sometimes, earth is like a steady rain...a rain of worldly things, temptations and distractions from God...and we are glasses, or vessels. An empty vessel will fill up with the nasty rain water, full of the world and its destruction. The key to rejecting the rain is to be filled with something else--the Holy Spirit! Going further, if we leave ourselves exposed haphazardly, though we may be filled, the rain water can still enter in and dilute the good that is in our vessel. Enter the shield of faith--covering up the top of us as vesels, so that the Spirit remains pure in us without the diluteness of the world. And don't seek to be half full of the Spirit, because then you'll be half full of the world--we don't stay empty...we will fill with something. We need to seek to be 100 filled with Goodness!

  2. I love that prayer, thank you so much for sharing.