We only live NOW. The past exists only in our minds and its memories. What may surprise you is that “now” is also just in our minds. We exist within our skulls, essentially a box. Our interaction with the world is through our senses: see (eyes), hear (ears), feel (touch), smell (nose), and taste (tongue). What we encounter in life is experienced and assessed through our senses and interpreted and evaluated by us from within our skulls.
Obviously, if that which is experienced “now” is assessed incorrectly, then our memory of the event will be inaccurate. Painful memories may not be so painful if we could correctly understand what was going on at the time they occurred.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 ESV)
The only reality that a Christian can depend on is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is always the same. The more we learn about Him in the Bible, the more we can see His work in our lives in the past, using our circumstances, our enemies, our disappointments, etc., to bring us to salvation, to enable us to grow in faith and grace, and to fulfill His purpose in us:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 ESV)
The more we learn about Him and His love and grace, the more we are able to forgive those who hurt us in the past:
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
(Colossians 3:12-13 ESV)
The more we learn about Him and His forgiveness, the easier it it to forgive ourselves for what we have done in past:
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
(Romans 5:1-2 ESV)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(1 John 1:9 ESV)
Imagine a farmer walking out of a pasture, opening a gate, passing through, and then carefully closing it behind him. In the same way, we must keep the gate of our memories closed. Some memories may be beneficial but others will be painful, inflicting us today with guilt, bitterness, depression, and discouragement. We must not let those painful memories intrude into our today:
… But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:13-14 ESV)
The past is gone. No one can change it. No one can undo mistakes. Live today. Live now. Now we have faith. Now we have hope. Now we have joy. Now we love. To have a life worth living, imitate the Apostle Paul:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
(Galatians 2:20 ESV)
God bless you as you seek to overcome the pain of the past and live now in Christ.
Moment by moment I’m kept in His love;
Moment by moment I’ve life from above;
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine;
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.
Daniel W. Whittle, 1893
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.