Outgrowing the past

Do you ever waste time reliving the past? Are you haunted by unhappy memories? Perhaps you're regretting old mistakes— yours and others'. The Bible has solutions to these problems. And there are a number of people described in the Bible who found their freedom from a sad or wrongful past and went on to live happy and useful lives. Some became great leaders. Paul, for example, had been a persecutor of early Christians, but through spiritual rebirth he became a courageous teacher of Christianity and a healer.

Christ Jesus told us that one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is not "fit for the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62). In the Old Testament the story of Lot's wife is a strong warning of the tragic results of willful refusal to let go of the past (see Gen. 19:12-26). She and her husband were told of the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, where they lived. Yet as they fled, Lot's wife looked back, possibly longing for or unwilling to let go of a materialistic way of life typified by Sodom and Gomorrah. She not only witnessed the destruction of everything that was dear to her, but the Bible says she was turned into a pillar of salt. Perhaps this was symbolic of a life wasted, consumed in the past.

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