Perspective on the Past

PaisleyI look back at photos of clothes I wore in the 1970s and 80s with some (hopefully) understandable embarrassment. Of course these clothes were highly desirable at the time – paisley shirts, narrow ties, patterned jumpers and folded jeans cuffs with white socks and runners – but they are happily just distant memories now. Maybe the same trend applies to some relationships.

One girl may have seemed to be so important to impress or another so devastating to lose, once upon a time. Surely, though, if we commit our ways to God, put Him first and then believe that He orders our steps (Psalm 37:23), we have to believe that He is in control and that it may actually be in our best interests that things don’t work out as expected. It is then with the benefit of hindsight that we see for ourselves that which would no longer be desirable anyway (at least that should be the case if we are now married)!

If there is any lingering regret over the past, what does this say about the present? A current relationship, especially a marriage, is so deserving of our best and of working through whatever difficulties may sometimes arise, without unreasonably glorifying, and fantasising about, the past (one which possibly transpired when we weren’t facing the pressures of today, anyway).

Maybe there comes a necessary time for us to break with the past and to start “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Philippians 3:13). Life is too short to live with regret or without a positive appreciation for what we were saved from in the midst of those limitations and weaknesses that we failed to fully comprehend at the time.

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