Paul testified, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13–14). However, there is also a difference—a massive difference— between overlooking your past and forgetting about it. Paul never overlooked his past. He wrote extensively about man’s sinfulness, including his own.
Every person has a past. I do. You do. Everyone does. By past, I mean things we have done at a previous point in our lives that cause regret and embarrassment, if not outright shame. It is that laundry list of attitudes, actions, and events you aren’t proud of.
How do you view your past? Has it held you captive, fearfully awaiting punishment from God?
Here’s the thing: it’s not just you. Everyone’s past is marked by, at least to some degree, foolish words, reckless decisions, and sinful acts. Everyone’s! Many would-be followers of Christ and even many Christians live with persistent, suffocating guilt. They question whether Christ will truly forgive them for what they have done. They feel they will never measure up spiritually, and thus are assigned to second-class Christian status. But nothing could be further from the truth.