Is Forgetting The Past A Good Thing Or Not?

As my 14-year-old grandchild approaches driving age, I have been thinking about my brave dad as he taught me to drive a stick shift many years ago, and my mother’s white knuckles the first time she was my passenger. Ah, the good old days. Wasn’t my grandchild just a baby yesterday? Wasn’t I just a teenager yesterday? As humorous as this recollection may seem, there is a lesson to be found in it. When trying to find hope on the road of life, is forgetting the past a good thing, or not?

Looking back: a lesson well learned

My parents had me take a driver’s education class when I was in high school. One of the things we were taught was to look in our rearview mirror just before making a left-hand turn. This was to assure that another car was not trying to pass on the left side at the same time. Apparently I learned that lesson well because I remember when I was driving the whole family to the dentist that my mother suddenly had her fingers hanging on for dear life. I was looking in the mirror too long as I started to turn and nearly ran the car into a deep ditch. My instructor most likely told me to look BRIEFLY in the mirror, but I obviously did not remember that part of the instructions.

Don’t drift backward

One of the challenges of driving a manual transmission is starting from a dead stop when parked on a hill. My dad made me practice over and over until I didn’t roll the car backward. I had to take my foot off the brakes, accelerate, and not kill the engine, all simultaneously. On the hills, I was scared every time I took my foot off the brakes, but eventually, I mastered the skill. My dad had a lot of patience.

The Pros and Cons of looking back

Remembering the past on the road of life

There are many things from the past that we should remember:

  • The ways that God has already met our needs. This is easiest if we keep a journal.
  • The good gifts that God has given to us
  • Pleasant memories of days gone by (“Whatever is lovely, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
  • What God says in His word (the Bible) about life and how to live it.

Forgetting the past on the road of life

There are times when it is beneficial to look back. But we can’t stay there. Looking back is for the purpose of learning how to not make the same mistakes as we move forward. If we look too long, we can fall into the ditch of self-pity, regret, or wishing for the good old days. Equally as important, we can’t keep our foot on the brakes of control if we hope to move forward. Brakes are good. Rearview mirrors are good. But only when used appropriately.

Our God, who is our instructor, has a path for us to travel. We have to trust Him while relinquishing control. Then He will help us move in the right direction.

“Trust In the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6 “Forgetting the past, I look toward the goal” Philippians 3:13-14

Forgetting the past: a gift for you

photo of a scripture available to the reader.

I have prepared a free, downloadable scripture card for you. NO EMAIL REQUIRED. It is to remind you that we can’t hold onto the past forever. It is only there to learn from and move on.

Simply click on the image above to download. If printed in smaller sizes, it can easily be laminated and hung with ribbon or twine.

If you are looking for further scripture cards, or for coloring pages, be sure and check out the resource page.

photo of many of the scripture cards and coloring pages available. These are resources to help the reader find more hope, joy and peace.

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