Hindsight can be 20/20.
A recent article detailed 37 things dying people said they regretted not doing. Among them were: traveling abroad, learning another language, leaving a bad relationship, seeing their favorite musician, overcoming fear, taking care of themselves physically, leaving an unpleasant job, saying “I love you” enough, listening to what their parents told them, ignoring what others thought, releasing grudges, volunteering enough, putting work in a proper perspective, spending enough time with loved ones, and letting go of worry.
Life can be filled with look backs, but there is one type that is spiritually devastating. Lot’s wife experienced it. She and her husband lived in the city of wicked Sodom. When news arrived that God was about to destroy their hometown, they ran for their lives. While on the escape route, however, Lot’s wife looked back longingly at the immorality she was leaving behind. The penalty was death…or in this case salt.
I am a product of my past but don’t have to be its prisoner. One counselor suggests 90 percent of our responses in relationships relate to a former rather than present time. But my past is a good instructor when I allow the wrong turns in it to prompt right turns in the present.
Skeletons haunt my past. When I allow unwise decisions and actions of my past to affect my present and future, I become a prisoner of misplaced focus. God gives many second chances, so my future is as bright as I allow it to be. Lot’s wife relived in her mind the sordid past she was leaving behind. If I long for what God has forgiven, it reveals a lack of full commitment to him.
My future is in God’s hands. He won’t erase my past, but he can use the events from it, combine them with my present experiences, and then use me to help others who are struggling on their spiritual journey. Are you learning from and using your past or letting it ruin your present and future?
Prayer: Merciful God of second chances, we thank You that our pasts don’t have to control our presents or futures.