As we prepare to ring in the New Year this weekend, many of us will choose to be “two-faced.”
No, I’m not talking about doing something hypocritical. The dawn of a new year typically causes us to reflect on our past even as we dream about the future. This phenomenon is why Janus (the Roman god for which the month of January is named) is depicted as a man with two faces- one gazing ahead while the other glances back.
Of course, while reflection is good, it can also become a trap. Perhaps this is why Paul encourages us to “forget the past” in Philippians 3:13 so our full energy and attention can be focused on “pressing on toward the goal.”
As I pondered these things last night, my four-year-old threw a royal tantrum last night. My wife was so stressed that she decided “we needed ice cream.” As we pulled into Sonic, our angry little monster stuck out his tongue and said, “Ha ha, I get to go to Sonic.” I looked at him calmly and said, “Oh no, we’re all getting ice cream while you watch. We don’t get treats when we throw fits.” As you can imagine, a terrible explosion of wailing broke forth, followed by shouts of, “You’re a mean Daddy!” As exhausting as it was, though, I had to put it behind me so we could start fresh this morning.
As a parent, I have to forget yesterday’s mistakes so today can be positive and uplifting.
As a teacher, I have to forget yesterday’s terrible class session so today can be productive.
As a pastor, I have to forget the thoughtless remark the church member made last week so I can focus on working together in the future for the good of the ministry.
And as a Christian, I have to forget yesterday’s failures so I can walk confidently with Christ right now, in this moment.
Playing “Remember When” can sometimes be fun and sentimental, but living there will only hold you back. As the New Year dawns, let’s take Paul’s advice, forget the past, and press on toward a glorious future.