The past is a tricky thing.
The past shaped us, created us, helped us, changed us… but it also hurts us, stifles us and haunts us. (If you notice – I wrote the negative effects of the past in present tense…because too often, that’s the only thing we focus on.)
Not only do we have our own past to deal with and sort through, but when you let someone into your life, you have to accept or deny the past they are dealing with as well. Both of these things are challenging, in fact, I think this is one of the hardest things we have to handle as people.
For some reason, I’ve always thought about the how you deal with the past being like Chemotherapy; there are two different sides of the treatment to look at:
1. The treatment has horrible side effects.
It sucks. You cry, you throw up, you’re in pain, you can’t eat, you’re weak and your nerves are shot.
2. The treatment is killing the bad parts.
What does that mean exactly? It means that it’s getting all the bad out, so that you can begin to heal.
So, which side of the treatment will you chose to dwell on? I’ve been asking myself the same question and here’s what I’ve decided to attempt: I will use my past as a tool to heal. Not: I will use my past as a tool to heal and dwell on the negative. Instead: I will use my past as a tool to heal and then leave it behind me.
I am in no way suggesting that this is easy, I am simply suggesting that you get as much resolve as you can on your past and then, focus on what is ahead. An English novelist, Gilbert Keith Chesterton, articulates this idea in the most beautiful way I’ve ever heard:
“There is one thing which gives radiance to everything. It is the idea of something around the corner.”
When I first heard this phrase, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I knew it was suggesting to look to the future, but I knew there was this deeper concept I was missing. Finally, I realized why it resonated with me so strongly – because it carries the same message that I look for in everything: hope. This is not a political “Obama Hope” or anything that relates to the materialistic ideals of this world.
This is the hope that, when all politics and petty things of life have disappeared, still remains: Hope in Jesus Christ is powerful enough to erase every ounce of your past, forever.