13 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,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
God wants to do a new thing. However, new things are often overshadowed by old things. This is true for trees and people.
It can be difficult for some things to grow in a shade. Shadows, especially areas which are deeply shaded from the light can provide comfort for the weary from the heat of the day while also retarding or completely disallowing some greater elements of desired growth.
Our relationships can also be adversely influenced by shadows of the past if they are allowed to continue casting their shade over our lives. Nowhere is this seen more than in the primary relationship of marriage. It can be difficult to forgive and get over the past but more difficult to live in its past.
I have found that people who are either unwilling or unable to forgive and put the past in the past are sentencing themselves to live in the hurt of yesterday while asking someone else to continue paying for something they cannot undo. Whether dealing with issues of trust or personal hurts and disappointments, people who use the past as a whipping post for their spouse or as leverage against them are destroying their marriage.
It is both mentally and emotionally unhealthy to keep dead things around and zombify or idolize them in efforts to justify our past hurts or present feelings. How do we know if we are living in unforgiveness or harboring hurts from the past? It may take time to recover from hurt but our hurt should not provoke us to hurt others. Nor should we relegate ourselves to simply live and make our covenant decisions in the shadow of the past. Wanting others to hurt and living in the past are signs of unforgiveness.
So, how do we deal with our past hurts, disappointments or injustices and get rid of the dark shadows of life. How can we forgive and put the past behind us so that our marriage can have the best opportunity to grow in a healthy and productive way.
1. Life is a Choice
a. A Choice to Forgive
i. Forgive and you will be forgiven
Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
b. A Choice to Not Be Afraid
i. Philippians 4:6 – (NLT Quote – 4 Steps)
ii. God has not given us the spirit of fear - fear adds torment!
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
c. A Choice to Surrender
i. Surrendered to the Word of God
ii. Surrendered to the Will of God
iii. Surrendered to the Way of God
James 4:7 So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. (The Message)
2. Make a Commitment
a. There is nothing so powerful as a commitment (Proverbs 16)
b. Make a Declaration
i. Verbalize Your Commitment to Yourself
ii. Verbalize Your Commitment to God
iii. Verbalize Your Commitment to Others
iv. If need be – Verbalize Your Commitment to the devil
3. Embrace a Better Day
18 "Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.
a. Write the vision upon a table and make it plain (Habakkuk 2)
b. Plot a course for yourself
i. Your mental health
ii. Your spiritual health
iii. Your physical health
iv. Your marital health
c. Let go and let God … You do your part and let God do His.
The truth is that no one or nothing can change the past. Life is made from what we currently have. You are going to be challenged to build your future on the material you currently possess along with God’s help and your hard work.
Mark 11:26 "But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses."
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
1 ¶ I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
Job 22:28 You will also declare a thing, And it will be established for you; So light will shine on your ways.
Joshua 24:15 ¶ "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
Proverbs 16:3 ¶ Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established.