Summary: It’s hard to move forward when you keep the past in the present


There was once an absent-minded professor who became so absorbed in his work that he forgot the simplest details. One morning his wife said, "Now Henry, remember, we are moving today. Here, I’m putting this note in your pocket. Don’t forget." The day passed by and the man came home to his house. He entered the front door, and found the place empty. Distraught, he walked out to the curb and sat down. A young boy walked up to him, and he asked him, "Little boy, do you know the people who used to live here?" The boy replied, "Sure, Dad, mom told me you’d forget."

It’s not to cool to be that forgetful.

But the Bible encourages us to be forgetful in at least one area.

Philip. 3:13-15

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, [14] I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

[15] All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

Paul says that the first step in pressing forward is forgetting what is behind.

Literally Neglecting


Because It’s hard to move forward when you keep the past in the present.

Paul’s Past was littered with actions for which he was ashamed.

Consider Acts 7:57-58

At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, [58] dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

Sometimes our past is filled with some Huge Hurts

You may have been physically or emotionally abused

You may have been the child of divorce or been divorced yourself

You may have made a serious mistake and hurt someone

You may have lost a loved one in a tragic accident

Sometimes these hurts don’t get resolved like they should

Pain gets tucked away instead of dealt with

Offenders are not forgiven

Fears go un-confronted

Conflicts go unresolved

Many Christians Identify with Paul - They are forgetting those things which are behind

It’s under the blood

As we look at this subject of keeping the past in the past, you don’t need to dredge up because you have dealt with it.


You know how I can tell whether you have dealt with it.

By how you deal with current issues.

I look to see if you have you traded in your TOOLS.

Maybe you heard about the Desert Storm soldier who while he was overseas received a Dear John letter from his girlfriend back home in the states. To add insult to injury, she wrote, "Will you please return my favorite photograph of myself-- I need it for my

engagement picture in the local newspaper."

The poor guy was devastated, but all the soldiers came to his rescue. They went throughout the entire camp and collected pictures of all the guys’ girlfriends. They filled up an entire shoe box and sent it to the girl along with a note from the guy saying, "Please find

your picture, and return the rest,---for the life of me, I can’t remember which one you were!!"

We learn tools like




Holding grudges…

This morning I want to talk about the tools you need to Keep the Past in the Past


There are two tools

Two things we need to practice they are confession and Forgiveness

We can keep the past in the past by keeping our slate clean in the present through confession and forgiveness

1. Confession

If you grew up in the catholic tradition confession to a priest may have been a part of your experience.

In the protestant church we have moved away from that form because it placed a middle man between a person and God

But we lost accountability by throwing this form out completely.

The Bible Says

James 5:16

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.

God intended that the church would be a body of close knit persons who could share their struggles through confession with one another.

You see when you confess your admitting that there is a problem

Your coming clean

Your being honest

A. You can’t overcome a problem until you admit that it exists

Lewis Smedes Former professor from Fuller TS from “The Art of Forgiveness”

“True forgivers do not pretend they don’t suffer. They do not pretend the wrong does not matter much."

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