"Forgetting those things which are behind … I press on toward the goal."1
The story is told of two monks who had gone on a day's journey. During the day the weather had become very inclement. On the way home that evening they had to cross a flooded fjord where a woman who needed help to get to the other side was waiting. Seeing her dilemma, one of the monks picked her up and carried her across to the other side.
Later that evening the monk who didn't help the woman condemned the one who did saying, "You were wrong this afternoon helping that lady. You know that in our order we are to have no dealings with the opposite s-e-x."
To which the other monk replied, "I carried her only across the stream. You are carrying her still."
When we carry hurts, grudges, resentments, guilt, grief or any unresolved issues from the past and fail to let go of them, we contaminate our present relationships. As Cecil Osborne used to say, "Every unshed tear [and unresolved negative emotion] is a prism through which all of life's hurts are distorted."
True, we are to forget the past but we can't until we resolve it. Repressing hurts isn't forgetting them. All it does is bury them where they will take root, gather interest and come out in other damaging ways at a later time—either emotionally, relationally, physically, and/or spiritually.
We need to get all of these pains off our chest, express them in creative ways, forgive whoever has hurt us, and then let go of them. Only then can we truly forget those negative things which are behind, and get on with our life free of these encumbrances.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to resolve any and all unresolved issues from the past and let go of any hurt, anger, grief, fears, and resentment so I won't take these things out on others, and so I will be free to fully live and fully love. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Philippians 3:13 (NIV).