Remembering the Past

Tammy De Ruyter

READ : Philippians 3:1-14

Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. (v. 13)

Robert was a successful businessman, happily married
with two kids. Everything seemed
picture-perfect, but it wasn’t. “House-rage,” he joked
to his friends. The slightest
irritation often sent flashes of anger through his body. One night, cruel words spewed
from his mouth louder than ever. Within moments, his
children were quivering upstairs. In
a brief flash, he remembered his own childhood and the terrifying hours spent hiding while
his father cooled down from a similar outburst.

Paul had plenty of bad things in his past, both that he had done and that were done to
him. He persecuted Christians. As a Christian, he was beaten, stripped, jailed, and
mocked. But repeatedly he shares his story. For Paul,
“forgetting what lies behind”
motivates him for the future life with Christ. The race, he says, is worth running. “I
press on toward the goal.”

For Christians, to face the past is to live with a
hope-filled future. Events in our
lives, the magnificent ones as well as the horrendous, mold us into the people we are.
Reformed ethicist Lewis Smedes writes, “You can never
forgive people for things you have
forgotten about.” Scars remind us of the pain, but when God’s healing flows over the
wound, the memories lose their painful grip. Trust
Jesus. Give him your past, then look
forward to what lies ahead.


Father, help us to remember the past so that we might heal, forgive, and move forward.