Can you remember the worst thing you have ever done? What category does it fall into – embarrassing, dodgy, illegal, evil? Is it worse than anything anyone you know has ever done? Does it scream at you, or merely give you a nudge? Was it a long time ago, or fairly recent? Maybe it was a one-off, or perhaps a serialÂ occurrence? Do you just remember it occasionally, or is it in your mind all the time?
Answers on a postcard to….. NO! I am joking, keep it to yourself!
The thing is that, no matter how good we might be, no matter how good we have been, we all have done something that is the worst thing we have ever done. It’s what we do with it that counts. Thinking about it is definitely not a good thing, so I apologise if the questions above set your mind off on a walk down Memory Lane!
Why do we think about things like that? There are probably only two reasons.
The first one is that we might still actually enjoy what we did. We haven’t broken the chain. Maybe we don’t still do whatever it was we did, but we look back at it and relive the feelings that we had at the time, the enjoyment of whatever it was. If that is the case, we need to deal with it pretty quickly. Just thinking about it in that way is just as bad as doing it all over again.
The second reason might be that we still feel guilty about it. Yes, perhaps we have never done it again, or ever wanted to. Yes, perhaps we have sought forgiveness and been forgiven, but it still haunts us, stillÂ embarrassesÂ us, still makes us cringe.
Either way, it’s not good. The devil is in it. Either he is reminding you of how “good” the bad thing actually was, or he is reminding you of how bad you were by saying that you are not forgiven. Either way, he just wants to ruin your walk with God. He wants you to look back Â – and before you know it you are a pillar of salt going nowhere!
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:12-14, NLT)
Don’t dwell in the past – or on it. If you need to be forgiven, seek forgiveness. If you have been forgiven, accept it. We can never change the past, but God can, and he does it through forgiveness. You see, once you are totally forgiven, you have a clean sheet. Your past is made totally perfect. Then you can look forward to what lies ahead.
That’s why you don’t have eyes in the back of your head.