Daily Devotional

Move Forward

Monday, August 10, 2020
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Scripture: 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, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14, NKJV)

Observation: forgetting those things … behind—Looking back is sure to end in going back (Lu 9:62): So Lot’s wife (Lu 17:32). If in stemming a current we cease pulling the oar against it, we are carried back. God’s word to us is as it was to Israel, “Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward” (Ex 14:15). The Bible is our landmark to show us whether we are progressing or retrograding.
reaching forth—with hand and foot, like a runner in a race, and the body bent forward. The Christian is always humbled by the contrast between what he is and what he desires to be. The eye reaches before and draws on the hand, the hand reaches before and draws on the foot [Bengel].
[Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.]

Application: Looking back at what has happened in your relationship, at the hurts, and at the wounds, will only keep you stuck in the sink hole of resentment.  The very word, resentment, comes from two Latin words which together mean “to feel again.”  Looking back at the hurts makes you feel the pain all over again.  What would be a better option to deal with resentment?  I suggest five steps to deal with it:
1. Make the decision that you’re going to stay married, no matter what.  Repeat it to yourself often.  Say it out loud and figure out what you need to do so both of you can make that commitment.
2. Put time into your marriage. Unless you are intentional about changing the future, you may repeat the mistakes of the past.  This is particularly important if you have children.  It is possible that, like a lot of parents, once your children were born you devoted a lot of time to caring for them and neglected taking time for your relationship.  Don’t continue to make the same mistake and instead devote time to cultivating a close, strong relationship with your spouse.  Make him/her feel special, that he/she is the most important person in your life.
3. Figure out what you’re getting out of getting from being resentful. Do you feel better?  Maybe you do feel better for a brief moment. Maybe you have given your spouse a bit of his/her own medicine.  Maybe you have had your moment of “vengeance.”  And then what?   What does staying stuck in that resentment really accomplish, anyway?  Besides driving another wedge between you and your spouse, what real benefit have you derived for yourself or for your relationship?  Nelson Mandela is said to have made this statement: “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
4. Figure out what specifically hurt you and what you need to do to forgive.  Sometimes we have a big challenge trying to forgive because we think about everything that has happened or that has been done to us.  Just like eating a complete meal, it is easier if we do it one bite at a time.  In the case of forgiveness, you may need to forgive one offense at a time.
5. If you’re still feeling resentful, try renegotiating with your spouse.   Sit down and calmly tell your spouse how you’re feeling and why, without pointing an accusing finger but rather speaking of your feelings.  Use “I statements” rather than “you statements.”  Ask him/her for their help and support to stop doing what has caused you pain in the past.  It’s important to forgive, but it is also important to protect yourself and ensure that the same painful events will not happen again.
Today’s text reminds us that we need to stop looking back and instead keep looking forward.  Any relationship that stays in the past will not be able to move forward.  Leave the past behind (forgive), and look forward to a better future.

A Prayer You May Say: Father God, help us to forgive the past, stop looking back with resentment  to what we cannot change, but rather look forward to the future by making the necessary changes in the present.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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