Do you remember your first girlfriend or boyfriend? Perhaps it was in junior high. You held hands. You went to a ball game together. You talked to each other in the hall. Maybe you let her wear your jacket. Maybe you let him wear a ring of yours on a chain around his neck.
I remember my first “dating” experience. I was innocent. I was in love. I was so awestruck that someone would want to go out with me. I was in 7th grade, she was in 8th grade. I asked her out at a church youth rally. How’s that for romance, huh? I wrote her a note while some guy was speaking, and she replied with a note in return.
After we had been “dating” a week or so, a group of friends were going to go to Opryland (yes, it was still a park then, and yes, it was awesome). I remember on the “Skyride” cable cars that went across the top of the park, we finally held hands.
And then, the next day, she called me and dumped me because someone else had asked her out. So goes a junior high romance.
I remember I could not eat for days. I was heartbroken. I went to bed thinking about it, and woke up the next day with it on my mind again. I realized then and there – its hard to be in junior high. But its also hard to forget about that things that hurt us.
Paul had a few things to say about forgetting. In Philippians 3, he says “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
I honestly thought I’d never forget about her. To a 14 year old boy, it was devastating. I would never love again. I’d live my life alone. No one would ever want me. Simply put, that was not true. Yes, she tore my heart out when she did that, and yes, it hurt. But, that was just a passing moment in my life, that helped me learn and grow.
Paul says we need to forget about the past, and move on. In this situation, he’s talking about his past mistakes in persecuting Christians, how he at one time thought it was what God wanted him to do, but he realized the error of his ways. I’m confident Paul would do anything to go back and change how he treated so many before he saw the light of Jesus shining down on him, but he couldn’t. So, he did the next best thing – he forgot about it.
I’ve always hated it when people say “Forget about it.” Or, they say things like “Man, you’ve just got to let it go.” Its hard when someone wrongs you to just let it go. But simply put, what’s in the past is in the past. And the fact that Paul has repented and moved on to bigger and better things, helps us see that the best way to forget about the pain in our life is to move forward and move on.
I haven’t been a saint all my life either. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes. I’ve apologized, I’ve repented, I’ve changed my way – and sadly, even with all of that done people still want to hold those things against me. We all know people who can’t forget about what things have been done against them. So, in that case, I have to move on. You have to move on. You have to forget about the past and press ahead to the goal, because that’s what God has called us to do. And while you’re at it, pray for those who can’t forget about it.
I don’t know how Paul was able to say this so confidently, but he did. I want to know how you can “forget” about something, but mention it so many times like Paul does. Had he truly forgotten about it? I think he was so confident in his forgiveness and repentance, that he could mention it and it not phase him at all. He knew he would not return to that lifestyle.
So, the question to ask is this – what’s lurking in your life that you need to forget about so you can move on? Who has caused you pain? Who has hurt you? Who has done you wrong?
What have you done to hurt others? Have you sought forgiveness? Have you changed your path?
Remember this: Satan loves to use our past to prevent us from a great future by keeping us miserable in the present. He’ll stop at nothing to keep you from Heaven. Its time to forget and move on.