Looking backwards will keep you stumbling forward.
How many times have you said to your child, “Look where you’re going!” or “Quit turning around and pay attention?” or “Stop texting while you’re walking!”
Why do we tell our children these things? It’s because we don’t want them to get hurt. God’s commandments and instructions in the Bible are there for the same reasons. He wants us to live lives that are glorifying to him. He wants to keep us from stumbling and falling.
This last week I was struck by how many times my mind wandered to the past. Have you ever done that? Why did this happen or that happen to me? Why didn’t I do better with that opportunity? Why didn’t I react differently to that person? I realized how easy it is to get stuck in that negative thinking. The worst part is it keeps you distracted and looking backwards.
When we are hurt or upset is our natural reaction to forgive and move forward? Or is it our tendency to go back over the hurt? Do we accept the apology or do we dwell on the hurt and replay the event over and over? Do we keep going back to it? Or do we move forward?
When we keep looking backwards, we lose our ability to focus on what is right in front of us. It steals our ability to heal. When we stay in the past and continue feasting on past hurt we perpetuate a cycle of unforgiveness and bitterness –and we are going to fall down.
By going over the injustice or the hurt we relive it over and over and that keeps us locked in a cycle of pain. How can we see what is ahead of us if we don’t ever face the right direction?
The Bible says in Psalm 103:12 (NIV) as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
What an example of forgiveness Christ is. There are instances that even though forgiveness is given there are consequences and even serious punishment. In those extreme cases granting forgiveness can be very difficult. But by forgiving we are freeing ourselves and we are not excusing the hurt nor any injustice done.
The Bible says, Press on towards the prize. In Philippians 3:14 it says, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. I think that is an amazing promise to share with our children.
“Face forward child and look at the path in front of you because, God has called you! What is the reward? Well the reward is a life in him for all of eternity! Don’t let the pains of the past pull you down. Let those go so you can focus on all that God has for you.”
In Jeremiah 29:11 he tells us, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
God tells us he has a plan for us. He tells us he has a future and a hope. He doesn’t tell us that he has a past. If we are striving towards a goal then we stay focused on the path ahead. But if we are looking backwards, we can wander off course and can and often do fall down.
What do you do if your child is weighted down with unforgiveness? Or maybe they are stuck and angry because someone has been mean to them.
Teach them the joy and freedom of granting forgiveness. It will be a lesson that they will use the rest of their lives.