Q: Please help me out. How can I come to peace with my past? I will be very thankful to you.
A: We all do things that we regret, and many of us have experienced things in our past that were not pleasant. Oftentimes, bad experiences, or bad choices can stay with us for a long time and can get in the way of living in the present, and can keep us from being happy.
If you have bad memories of something you did, I would advise that you ask God’s forgiveness, and allow his forgiveness to sink into your soul . If your conscience is bothering you, please see our topical study on Conscience here . One of the most important lessons that Jesus gave about conscience us is this:
(156:2.7) “My disciples must not only cease to do evil but learn to do well; you must not only be cleansed from all conscious sin, but you must refuse to harbor even the feelings of guilt. If you confess your sins, they are forgiven; therefore must you maintain a conscience void of offense.”
Jesus is saying that we must not even have feelings of guilt, once we have confessed, because God forgives us. If we continue to feel guilty, we are throwing his gift of forgiveness away.
If it is some bad experience that you have not been able to forget or forgive, please see our study on Forgiveness here. Forgiveness is a two-way street. We must forgive others for any offense, and in turn, we are then forgiven for offenses that we may have done to others. Remember the Lord’s Prayer, where Jesus taught us to say “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Forgiveness is not always easy, but it is a very important step to take in order to put our past behind us and start fresh.
What would you think of a mountain climber who stops her climb after every stumble, after every rock in the road, and sits down and cries about her mis-step? You would probably think her very silly! It is likewise with us—we are all on a journey, climbing ever higher to reach God. We cannot afford to stop in our journey to cry over every bump in the road—instead, we get up, brush ourselves off, and figure out how to avoid those bumps in the future. Then we can carry on with a light heart.
Finally, I hope you will be cheered by this additional lesson from Jesus:
(156:5.8) “Do not become discouraged by the discovery that you are human. Human nature may tend toward evil, but it is not inherently sinful. Be not downcast by your failure wholly to forget some of your regrettable experiences. The mistakes which you fail to forget in time will be forgotten in eternity. Lighten your burdens of soul by speedily acquiring a long-distance view of your destiny, a universe expansion of your career.”
Staying close to God will be the most help to you, no matter what it is in your past that is troubling to you—his very Presence exists within you, and he is as close as a thought. He wants to commune with you. He loves you and wants you to be happy and to have a joyous life of love and service in his spiritual Kingdom on earth. Speak to him in your heart, and he will answer.
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