Devotionals, Five Minute Friday

If Only: No Looking Back

If only…

No, I can’t look back. I can’t do it. History is good and all, but there’s a reason that God makes us new each morning. There’s a reason that He washes us white as snow. Rain comes down for a reason, washing all the dinginess away. The old is gone, the new has come. All of this is for reasons that are sometimes beyond us, yet fulfilling something grander than our pasts that we wish could change. 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

There's a reason that He washes us white as snow. Rain comes down for a reason, washing all the dinginess away. The old is gone, the new has come. Click To Tweet

History is important. We reflect on the mistakes or what went well trying not to repeat the wrongs. It is when we dwell on the hurt and the sin that gets us into a mode that self-perpetuates lies and bondage.

I once sat across a desk from a pastor. We were talking about an issue that arose in the family and how we could possibly deal with it and move on. Instead of focusing on the issue at hand, I cried over sins of the past and told him that I thought the problem was my fault. I confessed to not moving on because I couldn’t forgive myself. The depth of my grief had me so tied to the past, that I felt I was the one to blame for any sin or heart issue that arose in my little family.

He reached out and spoke truth. If I confessed, and I believed, I was clean and I did no longer need to dwell. I was a new creation. I didn’t need to keep going on about, “if I only didn’t stumble all those years ago” then this next thing would have never happened. I didn’t need to take ownership of someone else’s sins. They were not tied to my hands.

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit

1 Peter 3:18

Instead of dwelling on the past, longing for ways to have changed some things, we can focus on the truth of the here and now. We can look at this truth and see that it is good for all days. Our sins and dark pasts are washed away. Those who choose to stay looking back are sure to stand as a pillar of salt, a testimony to a road of failure.

Let us follow the wise words of our brother Paul: “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. 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

16 thoughts on “If Only: No Looking Back

  1. Thank you for this! I sometimes give into the temptation to think “If only” when I look at a current struggle and it seems linked to a past decision. (Whether the past choice was actually a bad one doesn’t seem to matter in this particular indulgence). But you are right, his mercies are new every morning, and as Anne Shirley says “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

  2. Wonderful post! Lessons learned from the past can help make a better present and future. Living in the past/dwelling on what-ifs hinders our present future, and will definitely keep us from embracing all God has for us. Thanks for sharing!

  3. This spoke to me: “Instead of dwelling on the past, longing for ways to have changed some things, we can focus on the truth of the here and now. We can look at this truth and see that it is good for all days. Our sins and dark pasts are washed away. Those who choose to stay looking back are sure to stand as a pillar of salt, a testimony to a road of failure.”

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Such powerful, beautiful truth…and a great reminder this morning. Oh how Satan loves to drudge up the past and to drag our thoughts there….to discourage and to defeat us. So glad that the past is the past and His mercies are new every morning! Very encouraged by your post this morning!

  5. Beautiful post, MaryAnn! So true- we can learn from the past but we shouldn’t be bound by it or allow it to hold us back from stepping into fully embracing the new life God has for us! Visiting from FMF#6.

  6. This is great, Maryann. Thank you!

    I learned not to do the if-only bit when I realized that going to a particular point and crying ‘if only’ summarily consigned all the good that followed into a kind of mental dustbin.

    And it’s not just bad decisions…if only I hadn’t gotten sick, my career would not have been ruined…but Josie and Reebok, twin sister Pit-Ridgeback mixes (yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds) would be dead, because we met them at an animal-control outing at Wal Mart on a day I would have been working…and it was the last hour of their last day.

    Are they worth the pain, the dread, and the loss of a career for which I worked quite hard?

    Yes. Because the thing they know best if how to give love.

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