The Apostle Paul said: "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14. Perhaps we need to learn to see life as a movie that we filmed, where, although we would have preferred to have done something different in certain scenes, the moment has passed. We cannot make changes to the past. We can only use what we learned to now, make it better. It is now that we are building our future. We need to let go of the past, get rid of the remorse, get rid of the guilt. Yesterday we did the best we could with the knowledge we had. And now we only need to correct the past mistakes so they won’t cast their shadow on the present; and let’s make better decisions. We can, with divine help, decide on a goal that will take us back to God without allowing past mistakes to sidetrack us or cause us delay.
Pondering on our pain makes us feel like victims. We believe that someone, or perhaps the world, is treating us unfairly. That is our way of putting the blame on someone else. In order to still believe we are innocent, someone else needs to be guilty. But if we look honestly to each one of those situations where we think we were treated unfairly, we will find that we ourselves provoked the situation. Perhaps we need to go a little farther back from when the event took place in order to see it. We have an inward anger that we don’t want to externalize, but we look for situations where we believe we were attacked and that gives us the liberty to say, “Look what they did to me! How unfair!” And now the counterattack is justified. We feel harassed, but if we analyze it, we could find that we purposely stood in front of the bus that ran over us so we could feel like innocent victims. Such way of thinking is destructive. We need to stop living in denial. we are totally accountable to God for what we do or fail to do. We can always convince others, but is God convinced?
The only opportunity to get closer to God, it is in the present. The only time available for us to act is in the present, which is where God is. But if instead of seeking God we use the present to remember our sorrowful past, our future will be very much like the past we have been remembering. Our thoughts are seeds, and what we sow is what we reap. Let’s instead use the present to work on a better future. The future is not written in stone, but with our thoughts and actions we are building our future each day.
We deceive ourselves believing that we are getting rid of our guilt by projecting it onto someone else. We do it so automatically that we don’t even notice it. There is a very powerful technique for revealing those fear-based beliefs we carry, is mirroring; we always see them reflected in others. Everyone we see and meet is a mirror for us. Because we most often see in others what we cannot clearly see within ourselves. When we are unwilling to take responsibility for our behavior, we projected it onto others and make it all about them. We dislike and condemn the weaknesses in others that we intimately dislike and condemned about ourselves. The solution is to take responsibility for what happens to us, and that will give us strength and courage to go on. All the emotions that come from fear are debilitating. Perhaps we believe that anger gives us courage, but it is the opposite because the event which caused the anger is every day looking increasingly unfair, and anger continues to grow to the extent that we lose control. Anger does not come from God, and it is never justified. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. " 2 Timothy 1:7.
Time seems to go in one direction, but when you reach its end it will roll up like a long carpet spread along the past behind you, and will disappear. ACIM. All that counts is the present. That is why the Bible says, "I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2. The opportunity is now. The lessons we have not learned yet will be presented to us again, so that, where before we made a mistake, now we would make a better choice. That is the purpose of today, so the past will punish you no more, and future dread will now be meaningless. You are starting today by turning a new page. The Apostle Paul tells us to set a goal of forgetting the past and reaching out to what is ahead. And with fixed determination to keep our sight on the end, without deviating. Do not let past regrets keep hurting you or turn into hindrances that prevent you from advancing. At the end of the day, make an inventory of your activities. If something intimately took your peace away, correct it. It was a mistake, and mistakes are correctable. Seek to live with peace. Peace is the result of our closeness with God
“Each hour, spend a little time in practicing the lesson in forgiveness… And try to give it application to the happenings the hour brought, so that the next one is free of the one before. The chains of time are easily unloosened in this way. Let no one hour cast its shadow on the one that follows, and when that one goes, let everything that happened in its course go with it. Thus will you remain unbound, in peace eternal in the world of time. This is the lesson God would have you learn: There is a way to look on everything that lets it be to you another step to Him, and to salvation of the world. To all that speaks of terror, answer thus: I will forgive, and this will disappear. To every apprehension, every care and every form of suffering, repeat these selfsame words. And then you hold the key that opens Heaven's gate, and brings the Love of God the Father down to earth at last, to raise it up to Heaven. God will take this final step Himself. Do not deny the little steps He asks you take to Him.” ACIM L. 193: 12-13
As you keep advancing towards your goal, you will notice the difference in your life. Your life will become simpler as you take responsibility for your mistakes and correct them. Ask the Holy Spirit for His help in removing your feelings of guilt. You are no longer alone in your journey. The power of God is guiding you and is your companion. Every day His presence and His help become more tangible. Is not this something desirable? We are not talking about illusions or nice words; this is about lives that are being transformed by His power every day.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51: 10.