Leaving the past behind

Last night as our family gathered to study the word we looked at one of my favorite passages of encouragement, Philippians 3. There are many verses that are especially meaningful in this passage but the two that really caught my attention last night were 3:13 – 14:

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

I am confronted by Paul’s model (and I’m sure I’m not alone) in forgetting what is behind, good or bad. Putting the past behind in return for the newly generated hope in what lies ahead should be an easy thing given the overwhelming greatness of our destination. A newly reborn heart that holds nothing but promise can be stubborn though. I don’t have a problem trading what I thought was really great about my life before Christ renewed me for a different but greater life now. My struggle lies in releasing old injuries, real or supposed, and moving forward.

Why is this such a challenge? Do we hang on to a grudge because we still lack sufficient faith to trust that God works all challenges for good? This might be a partial explanation. Some human notion of fairness pervades our lives and if we interpret an action to have wronged us, our hearts cry out for reprisal in some form. Our souls are turned inside out though and we being forgiven creations are to be forgiving creations. Do we hold on to hurts because it gives us an excuse for our own hurtful behavior? This could also be a remnant of our old being, something to be gotten rid of as we mature. The trouble is the difficulty in doing so.

Perhaps today, as the sun begins to brighten the eastern horizon, I can leave the past behind and commit fully to moving on towards the prize for which God redeemed me. I can only pray.

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