Philippians 3:13b-14 – I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (NLT)
Hector is someone with whom we can all identify, for forgetting the past is a choice that we, too, will face.
Hector kept thinking about the pastor's message that morning, entitled "Forgetting the past".
Angrily, he thought, "Surely, God does not expect me to forget the falling out that my son Mark and I had! The boy was rude, and the boy was wrong! If anyone needs to make amends so we can begin forgetting the past, it's him!"
Mark was the only child that Hector and his wife Helen had. A few months after Mark turned 21, his mother was called home to be with the Lord. Neither Hector nor Mark knew how to express or deal with their sorrow, and one evening, a heated, senseless argument broke out between the two.
The details of the argument Hector no longer remembered. All he knew was that he missed his son terribly, and deeply regretted having kicked him out of the house.
Hector thought back to the night when Mark had telephoned him to say that he was now living out of state, working in construction, and wanted his dad to have his address and phone number. Before hanging up, Mark had blurted out, "Dad, I love you."
Hector had hung up the phone the same way that he had answered it: stubborn and bullheaded!
For some reason, the pastor's message that day, "Forgetting the past", was bringing everything to the surface. God's Word penetrated deeply into Hector's cold, calloused heart, and he found himself weeping.
Grief-stricken over his sinful, selfish attitude, Hector fell to his knees. As he surrendered to God, he prayed for forgiveness.
He felt like a new man! The heavy burdens that he had been carrying for years had been lifted off him. More than anything, he wanted to make things right with Mark.
Just then, Hector remembered something else that the pastor had read in his morning message. It was the rest of verse 13 in Philippians chapter 3: "Forgetting the past … and looking forward to what lies ahead."
- A ray of hope filled Hector's room
Dispelling doubt, fear, and gloom
Hector realized it was not too late
Through the power of God
He could change this fate!
As Hector dialed his telephone
He felt a strength
He didn't know that he had
When Mark answered his phone
He heard a voice say
"Hello son … this is your Dad."
Hector and Mark's relationship was restored because they were willing to forget the past. Though their minds would never be completely void of what had happened, they chose to lay to rest the obstacles to their relationship.
Our particular circumstances and relationships may vary when it comes to forgetting the past, but the results of doing so provide us the opportunity to set ourselves free, change lives, restore relationships, build bridges, soften hearts, and shine a light so bright for Jesus that darkness has to flee!
Prayer: Lord, we pray that forgetting the past and restoring relationships would be our heart's desire. We thank You that we already have all the strength that we need, through Christ, to be able to do this. We thank You also that by choosing to obey Your Word in this matter, it then frees us up to look forward to what lies ahead. Amen.