Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before”
(Phil 3:13, KVJ)
The Apostle Paul had what some would call a checkered past. Like all of us, he did some things which he later regretted doing. Unfortunately, with human nature being what it is, even after working in ministry for several years there were most likely some people who still felt inclined to remind him of how he use to persecute Christians. Thankfully, Paul had come to understand that the hope he had in Christ enabled him to let go of his past mistakes and look forward to becoming the man of God he was destined to be.
Those of us who are incarcerated should not waste time or energy thinking about past mistakes. There are already enough people who are more than happy to do that for us. Prison officials and the parole board love to focus on the person we used to be rather than on the person we’ve become. There may even be a few family members or friends who continue to harbor bitterness for things we did ten or twenty years ago and feel the need to regularly remind us of our past deeds. Though these individuals are quick to declare that they are not the same person they were five, ten, or twenty years ago, they choose to believe we are the same people we were before God began a good work in our lives.
Rather than dwelling on a past that we can’t change, our time and energy is better spent by moving forward with Christ, striving each day to continue our growth in the grace and goodness of the Lord. One does not go forward with Christ by reliving the past. Living life in the light of Christ gets brighter and brighter as we perpetually forget the darkness of the past.