Friday, December 2, 2011

Looking Behind, But Plowing Ahead

I appreciate a good driver, probably more so than most. More than just a good driver, I really admire a good backer upper.
            My lack of reverse skills began early in my driving career when I backed over my driving teacher’s foot while learning how to parallel park nearly 25 years ago. Perhaps, I should have climbed out of the driver’s seat then and given up my quest for a driver’s license.
While I am great at driving forwards, my reverse skills are lacking to say the least. Shamefully, I will admit that I have backed over a boy on a bike (he was uninjured, but the bike was not so lucky), two skateboards, three tricycles, two bicycles, a four-wheeler, a scooter, a mailbox, several trees, bushes, and an assortment of flowerbeds. I have backed into enough cars that I no longer keep count of the total. I want even begin to detail the unfortunate garbage man who got an early wake up call in the form of my rear bumper. Suffice it to say, he survived, thankfully, unharmed.
Most recently, I came within a honk and an inch of replacing one of Union’s police car’s front bumpers with the tail end of my car. I would have laid my license and my keys right in the middle of Bank Street and walked away, never to drive again, if I had hit that sweet police officer.
Now, in my defense, I am not alone in this reversing disorder. I come from a long line of bad backer uppers. My grandfather and my father have backed into their share of garage doors, parked cars, and yard fixtures. I acquired my lack of reverse skills honestly.
The mystery of this reverse disorder is that I seem to always be looking behind me just in case there is something or someone that I might hit. I spend more time looking behind than I do forward, but it never seems to help. I still manage to back over a poor unfortunate object.
I have found that my obsession with looking behind me is much like that of the many people who spend more time obsessing with what is behind them rather than seizing what is ahead.
Philippians 3:13 says, “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…”
Paul wrote the book of Philippians while he was in prison. Even in his imprisonment, he was still eagerly encouraging others to look ahead rather than focus on their past that involved bitterness and unforgiveness.
While the past holds lessons learned, dwelling on mistakes of the past serves no purpose for our lives in the future.
Christ promises to remove our sins as far as the east is from the west. Why, then, is it so hard for us to forgive ourselves? Guilt and shame are of no benefit to anyone but Satan. Dwelling on the past only prolongs pain and suffering, and ultimately, prevents a true relationship with Christ.
Rather than being filled with guilt and shame, we should be repentant. Heartfelt repentance means acknowledging our wrong and pledging to change. Guilt causes us to stay focused on the past rather than moving forward into the future of God’s grace.
I have made enough mistakes in my life to fill every nook and cranny on this side of the Mississippi. However, I know with certainty, that when I ask for forgiveness, not only am I forgiven, but I am given a chance to do things right. With that knowledge, I have a peace that I cannot find by worrying about what I should have or could have done in the past.
While I find it essential to stay focused on the rear of my car so as to prevent any further accidents, I am constantly looking forward to find the peace that passes all understanding through the forgiveness of the past. I pray you will do the same.

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