What’s done is done . . . you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube . . . it’s no use crying over spilled milk.
I believe it’s a gift from God . . . this dark black line between the past and now. It’s why He gave us His grace the way He did . . . through Jesus’ once and for all time sacrifice to cover our sins, past, present, and future. The dark black line in time, the line that marks “forgiven” and “not,” is marked, not by the moment we asked for forgiveness, or even by our accepting Christ and God adopting us into His family, but by the moment Jesus gave His life to pay the fine for our unrighteousness. The unrighteous things we did yesterday, that we’ll do today, and that we’ll do tomorrow, even though we don’t intend to.
But there’s great freedom in knowing the past is the past and you can’t change it.
As a Christ-follower, I know who I am. God loves me. I’m one of His favorites. I’m adopted. He intentionally came after me.
So, if I know He loves me and I know everything is (eventually) for His glory and I know He either makes or allows everything to happen (i.e., His sovereign will) the past poses two questions. Only two.
“Lord, what are you teaching me here . . . about you, about myself, about others, about life?” And then “Jesus, how would you have me respond? What would you have me do next?”
I meet too many people who are stuck second-guessing the past. “If I only I had . . .” “Why didn’t I see . . .” “What was I thinking when . . .” If it’s hard to get over the stupid stuff that follows cries of “Here, hold my beer and watch this,” it’s even harder when we did our best, and things still blow up. And harder still when we didn’t have anything to do with it. Somebody else went nuts, or stopped paying attention for a few seconds, or skipped a doctor’s appointment. And wrecked our dreams.
Remember the words of the Serenity Prayer, first coined by Reinhold Niebuhr then adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous. Pray it out loud. Pray it right now.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Challenge: God loves you, even when you mess up. He already forgave you, so forgive yourself and move on with more wisdom and deeper faith for what’s next.