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Resolution or Repetition

"Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead."1

"If you have ever been to a circus, you've no doubt seen the huge bull elephants chained to a peg in the ground. Perhaps it has occurred to you that the elephant could easily pull the peg out of the ground and escape. However, he does not try. As a baby elephant he was tied to a huge stake that he could not pull out of the ground. Weeks of pulling and tugging only wore a trench around the stake, and finally he gave up. Now that he is full-grown, with great strength and the physical ability to pull the peg out of the ground, he remembers only the futility of past efforts and does not even attempt to escape. He is conditioned to failure."2

He is conditioned to failure because he is conditioned by his past as, unfortunately, many of us are. We have had a bad experience (or bad experiences) in the past that have left us hurt, angry, and/or afraid; and we allow those past experiences to control our life today even though these experiences happened years ago—perhaps even in childhood.

True, as God's Word says, we need to forget the past so we can move forward to what is ahead. But until we resolve past hurts and forgive any and all who have ever hurt us, we are still conditioned and bound by the past and are destined to failure at some level—especially so in relationships. The reality is that what we fail to resolve we are destined to repeat … repeat … and repeat. So, if you ever find yourself repeating past failures, past mistakes, or past impaired relationship patterns, see if you can trace those patterns to some negative experience/s in the past. If so, those issues need to be faced, confronted, and resolved so we can break the chains of conditioning from the past, forget its hold on us, and move ahead triumphantly.

No matter what happened to us in the past it is either resolution or repetition. The choice is ours.*

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to see if I am still bound in any way by unresolved past experiences and to find the help I need to overcome these issues so I can genuinely forget the past and move ahead with my life to fulfill my God-given purpose. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Philippians 3:13 (NASB).
2. Dr. Arthur Caliandro, of Marble Collegiate Church, New York City.

* Note for help: See Dick's book, You Can't Fly With a Broken Wing, on sale at


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.