“Don’t look back!” Paul writes in his letter to the Philippians, “Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
God’s word to us is, “Don’t look back!” Like the Apostle Paul we must forget “what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead.”
There is a natural, human tendency for us to look back. We have history books, yearbooks, photo albums, home movies and memories that allow us to look back.
And there can be great value in looking back. We look back to learn. We look back to affirm the places and faces and circumstances from whence we have come.
At the same time Paul tells us to “forget what lies behind.” But Paul is saying don’t look back in a way that will keep us from going forward. Don’t look back in a way that makes us prisoners of our past, because looking back in the wrong way enslaves us or enslaves others to past mistakes and sins. Looking back in the wrong way does not allow the healing of old hurts and painful memories.
Even looking back at past accomplishments and successes can keep us from discovering what lies ahead.
There’s no reason for us to remain enslaved to the mistakes and sins and shortcomings of our past. We don’t have to continually feel guilty and “second rate” because of something we did years ago or even yesterday.
So the advice that’s given to us is, “Don’t look back!”