But the Bible Says to Forget the Past

June 26, 2013

in 2013 Awesome Husband, Change, Marriage Killer, Series

When you talk about dealing with the past, inevitably someone tells you it is unbiblical, that Paul commands us to forget “what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead”.

Broken leg © marin | freedigitalphotos.net

Of course, this is taken out of context. Philippians 3 is not about past hurts; rather Paul is talking about the things in his past about which he could brag. Paul is laying down his “right” to say his past makes him anything saying, “whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ“.

What would you think of someone with a broken arm or leg that refused to get medical attention? What would you think of them if they tried to spiritualise their bad choice by claiming it is in the past, and the Bible says to forget it and move forward? Why should a mental or emotional wound be any different?

Just because mental and emotional wounds are not as obvious as a broken limbs does not mean they are not debilitating. Unhealed wounds of the mind keep people from trying, from growing, from loving, from moving forward, and much more. Wounds of the heart cause people to withdraw, or to lash out. Spouses and children suffer at the hands of men and women who refuse to deal with their past injuries.

Please do not excuse injury-induced behaviour with “that’s just the way I am.” Much of what we are is not what God has called us to be, and we have a responsibility to figure out why we fall short so we can be better. The way “we are” is greatly influenced by what we have lived, and especially by our experiences as children. If you broke your leg as a child, and it was never properly healed, you would still limp today. Likewise, if mental and emotional injuries from your past were not properly healed, they will limit you today.

If you have past injuries that affect you today, you owe it to your family do whatever it takes to be whole and healed.

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Joshua Belyeu
Joshua Belyeu

 What about those of us who are single, and have no families of our own?

I'll be 33 years old this August, and 12 years ago, I fell in love with a woman who, to this day, says I don't have anything to offer her. Until last week, we hadn't communicated regularly in 7 years, though I've thought about her almost every day. She has a 5-year-old daughter now, but neither she nor the father are completely committed to each other. I've tried moving on, seeing therapists, pastors, even going to Celebrate Recovery meetings for the past 2 years...none of it makes me want her back any less. She says I'm pathetic because I don't see much of a purpose for my own life without her, and I've countered with, "what's life worth without love"? Sure, I could work my butt off, for a house and all sorts of things...but she's told me security doesn't matter to her. All I have left is my heart, and I've tried trusting God...but this loneliness is truly killing my soul.

TheGenerousHusband moderator

@Joshua Belyeu Joshua - It certainly sounds like your life is being held hostage to a desire for something that is never going to happen.

I don't think wanting her less is the issue so much as being able to want and enjoy other things. You are not the only person out there looking for love - why not find a way to offer love to others? Volunteer to help somewhere, make the lives of others better. If you develop a passion for loving others, your life will change.

Joshua Belyeu
Joshua Belyeu

@TheGenerousHusband I've had more conversations with her, and have been freed from a lot of things. Some of my thoughts concerning her present situation were wrong, and I believe God has used her to help me find some peace with past mistakes.


The "in the pat" thing is the Rafiki theology. (from The Lion King)


Simba - "Ow! What was that for?"

Rafiki - "What does it matter? It is in the past!"

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