“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…”
We are all aware of the truths about our pasts as well as our present. It is human nature to avoid the truth, since the truth is usually not what what we want people to see.
The first step to forgetting your past is to own up to it. Did you used to lie for a living? Were you a career criminal? A less-than-reputable citizen? Perhaps your past is not so sordid, but you made mistakes, did things, said things that you are not proud of. Would the person you are NOW want to know the person you were THEN? Who have you hurt? Who hurt you? By exploring these and other questions, you can identify what is true about your past. Take some time and make a lsit of answers to these questions I’ve just put to you.
Once you have identified the truth, you should then ask yourself questions like, “How has this past hurt or past experience contributed to who I am today?”
“What were the positive effects or outcomes that resulted from those events in my past?”
“What were the negative effects or outcomes…?”
Saint Paul tells of his history (an educated man, a religious man, but also a murderous zealot who had countless new Christians – both men and women – put to death, and calls himself “chief of all sinners”). But he follows this horrible litany of his past misdeeds by saying, “This one thing I do – forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching for those things which are before, I press toward the mark…”. He acknowledges his past and then he does something amazing. He lets it go!
The freedom Saint Paul found to live his new life came from accepting and acknowledging the TRUTH about himself rather than denying it. Had he denied the truth, he would have undermined his credibility. Everyone (every Christian in his day) knew who he was and what he had done. His reputation preceded him everywhere he went. Denying the truth about his past would have made him a hypocrite.
What truths have you been denying about yourself? How is that denial interfering with your becoming the person you want to be? How can you press toward something, if you are continually looking or reaching backward?
Perhaps it is time to face your truth. Then forgive yourself. If you need forgiveness from others, ask for it. But remember you cannot expect others to forgive you if you can’t forgive yourself. The future is waiting and it is brighter than you ever imagined. Face the truth about your past, and you will be free to confidently explore the brave new world that is your future.
Transcribed from the audio program, Getting Past Your Past, by Julie A. Christiansen, M.A. Available now at https://store.angersolution.com $49.95 for 2 CD set with workbook.