Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ. Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands, and step out into the Irresistible Future with Him.
I frequently hear persons in old age, say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.
We have to learn to commit not only the future but also the past to the Lord.
There is no contradiction between a present enjoyment of justification and a proper sense of shame about past sin. Both mark the maturing Christian.
Properly remembering our past sins with shame will deter us from repeating them and help us receive God’s saving grace. When we recall our failures through the lens of Christ’s mercy, God produces in us ongoing repentance and deepening humility.
Your Redeemer is bigger than your past.
The hope of the gospel can help you put the right interpretation on your past and make it a good thing for you. This is what will help you get past your past.
When reminders of your past invade, don’t question your kingdom usefulness. That is Satan’s ploy to derail you. Instead, thank God for His commitment to work through your folly to make you more sensitive to fellow sinners. Ask Him to open doors of relational ministry and to give you the wisdom and courage…to testify of His life-changing grace in your life.
God does not want to remove your memories; he wants to redeem them. He wants to transform them into something good, something that will make you more like Jesus. Do you see the hope this offers Christians? Your bad memories of your past sins – even the worst ones – can be opportunities for life-changing growth. You do not need to avoid, run from, cover over, or get rid of your past. You can reinterpret it God’s way. God’s goal is neither memory erasure nor memory denial, but memory redemption.
When [we] view our past through a Christ-centered, gospel lens, [our] lives are characterized by a deepening repentance, heightened gratitude, and broader effectiveness in helping others.
When we let our past memories springboard us to higher views of God’s grace, it energizes our praise and solidifies our Christian confidence.
You and I must never look at our past lives; we must never look at any sin in our past life in any way except that which leads us to praise God and to magnify His grace in Christ Jesus… When Paul looks at the past and sees his sin he does not stay in a corner and say, “I am not fit to be a Christian, I have done such terrible things.” Not at all. What it does to him, its effect upon him, is to make him praise God. He glories in grace and says, “And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”
Why believe the devil instead of believing God? Rise up and realize the truth about yourself – that all the past has gone, and you are one with Christ, and all your sins have been blotted out once and for ever. O let us remember that it is sin to doubt God’s Word. It is sin to allow the past, which God has dealt with, to rob us of our joy and our usefulness in the present and in the future.
To dwell on the past simply causes failure in the present. While you are sitting down and bemoaning the past and regretting all the things you have not done, you are crippling yourself and preventing yourself from working in the present. Is that Christianity? Of course it is not.
Never look back; never waste your time in the present; never waste your energy; forget the past and rejoice in the fact that you are what you are by the grace of God, and that in the Divine alchemy of His marvelous grace you may yet have the greatest surprise of your life and existence and find that even in your case it will come to pass that the last shall be first. Praise God for the fact that you are what you are, and that you are in the Kingdom.
No scriptural principles suggest that repeated emotional indulgence [of past trauma] produces healing. Rather, the opposite is suggested by the murderous outcome of Cain’s flaring bitterness (Gen. 4:1-8) and Absalom’s simmering anger (2 Sam. 13:20-29), to cite just two examples. Instead, Philippians 4:8 commands us to dwell on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, morally excellent and praiseworthy.
God does not desire for you or anyone else to live with the pain of regret. It is altogether right to hate sin in your history. The pain of past sin is often a powerful deterrent to future sin, but don’t let it rob you of the peace God has designed for you in the present. Remember what Jesus said to a woman who had lived an immoral lifestyle: “Your sins are forgiven… Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:48–50). God desires that peace to be yours today… To all who trust in Christ, remember this… You do not walk around with a scarlet A on your chest, for God does not look at you and see the guilt of abortion. Instead, he looks at you and sees the righteousness of Christ. God restores, and he redeems. Even as we saw earlier, God has a track record of working all things, including evil things, ultimately for good.
Most Bible characters met with failure and survived. Even when the failure was immense, those who [rebounded] refused to lie in the dust and bemoan their tragedy. In fact, their failure and repentance led to a greater conception of God’s grace. They came to know the God of the second, chance, and sometimes the third and fourth.
What do you do with the person who says, “I’ve asked God to forgive me about this, but I still feel guilty”? I hear that statement over and over again. I usually say to these people, “If you still feel guilty, then pray to God again. But this time don’t ask Him to forgive you for the sin that is haunting you. Rather, ask Him to forgive you for insulting His integrity by refusing to accept His forgiveness. Who are you to refuse to forgive yourself when God has forgiven you? When God promises to forgive His people when they repent, He is not playing games. If He says He will forgive you, then He will forgive you. And if God forgives you, you are forgiven.”
We are today accepted in the Beloved, today absolved from sin, today acquitted at the bar of God… We are now pardoned; even now are our sins put away; even now we stand in the sight of God accepted, as though we had never been guilty. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” There is not a sin in the Book of God, even now, against one of His people. Who dares to lay anything to their charge? There is neither speck, nor spot, nor wrinkle, nor any such thing remaining upon any one believer in the matter of justification in the sight of the Judge of all the earth.
When we dig up the gold of the past, it must be beaten into useful coins for today. Past, present, and future belong together. The most joyful knowledge is that we are citizens of heaven. Our outlook goes beyond this world, and we are in training for eternity… [In getting older] one discovers something of the plan behind the happenings of the past. When we look back we realize that behind many events, which were not important in themselves, there is a design, an order, a continuity.