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Forget the Past…Even If Others Won’t Let You
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  • When folks can't forget your past, gOD HAS (1)

    “Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions…” Psalm 25:7

    A pseudo friend came to me, telling me what someone “heard” about me.

    “Yeah, I heard she was fast back in the day!” (You mean twenty or more years ago?)

    “Didn’t she used to drink a lot?” (Mad Dog was my drink of choice in college. It was cheap.)

    “I know she saved now but she wasn’t always saved! She was the biggest…” (Ma’am, how is your relationship with the Lord?)

    Those outdated conversations bore me.

    No, I haven’t always been saved nor was my lifestyle aligned with the Word of God. In fact, there’s nothing anyone can say about me that I haven’t already heard – whether if it’s fact or fiction. So yes; I own the mistakes of my youth and early adulthood. However, I refuse to live in that place.

    Because I am not the same person; God made sure of that.

    It can be challenging to recover from a stained reputation. People like to keep you how they remember you, despite the strides and changes you have made. And yes – exaggerations of past actions are common. Shoot, some folks just straight up lie on you! We need to flip the script, though. Regardless of their accusations, no one is without sin.

    And they need a reminder.

    I think of the woman in John 8. She was an adulteress who was caught in the act. Although the people dragged her to Jesus expecting His condemnation, He turned it back on them.

    “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last.” John 8:7-9

    If I was there I would’ve said, “What’s wrong? Cat got your tongue?” Jesus called them out on their hypocrisy. Albeit the sin may be different, all have fallen short of the glory of God at some point, according to Romans 3:23.

    (Sidebar: if you’re the one constantly throwing dirt at someone else’s past transgressions, you’re falling short right too, boo.)

    Looking back, I wish I would have made better decisions. When your name has a stain, it can be tough to overcome. After all, Proverbs 22:1 tells us that a good name is to be chosen rather than great riches and loving favor rather than silver and gold. So what do you do when your name is not good?

    Maybe you’ve been ostracized from family due to past deception.

    Perhaps you’ve wrestled with addiction – alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling or otherwise.

    You could have a history that includes crime and doing the time.

    You may have even sold your body.

    The list could go on.

    But be of good cheer. No matter the sin, when you repent, you’re clean.

    “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18

    Total deliverance may not happen instantly but when you surrender your sin, you begin the journey to wholeness and God cleanses you from what was. Whereas you may have been dishonorable in your deeds, He recreates you into a vessel of honor. (See 2 Timothy 2:20-21.)

    Again, no matter what you have done, through the blood of Christ you are forgiven.


    Whereas memories remain – and folks stay ready to remind you – your freedom from the past is not pending on their approval. When you confess your sin and receive Christ as Lord, it’s all under the blood.

    Look. Your past is simply that — the past.

    But what do you do when people focus on who you were versus who you are now?

    Acknowledge the truth of past mistakes– but don’t linger there. Isaiah 43:18-19 tells us: “Do not remember the former things nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?” Use the past as a point of reference to remember where the Lord has brought you from, praising Him for where He’s brought you to.

    Accept God’s forgiveness– and forgive yourself. Psalm 103:2-4: “Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction.” If He does that how dare we not forgive ourselves? Stop carrying false guilt. Now, let me keep it 100. Although God’s forgiveness is complete, consequences can linger. However, they don’t derail His mercy. Look at King David. After he sinned with Bathsheba, God forgave him but their baby died as a result. Yet, they later became parents to King Solomon. God’s blessing was on the back end of their transgression. See, the Lord’s discipline doesn’t eradicate His pardon or love for us.

    “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:5-6

    While we reap what we sow, His grace is greater.

    Anticipate people recalling “when you used to…”– but remember they do not define you. If someone wants to stay in your yesterday, don’t waste time trying to convince them otherwise. Like Taylor Swift sang, haters gonna hate. A person whose conversation solely focuses on negativity of others has a heart issue. (Oh yeah – refer to Luke 6:45.) 2 Corinthians 5:17 defines who you are; not them.

    “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

    All things become new; that includes a checkered past.

    God says you are forgiven and cleansed from the latter – no matter what anyone else has to say.

    After all, if God says it that settles it.


  • 1 comment

    Hello Julie; Wonderful article and verses to drive it home. My boyfriend’s mom brings up her husband’s affair that happened over 40 years ago EVERY time we are with her. Whether its me or him we both have to sit through this rehashing of how she was wronged and it’s getting sickening and very depressing!!! She EVEN brings it up with my boyfriend’s father in the same room. So he sits there, continuously accused OVER AND OVER AGAIN. She is a born again and says she has forgiven him but it doesn’t seem to be that way? They are still married but the affection is gone. All my boyfriend’s father has ever said is that his wife was hard to live with which is why he had the affair? I’m at the point where as a Christian I’m really feeling some righteous anger bubbling up inside of me and I even feel that I have to limit my connections with her whether by phone or in person. How do I deal with her? It’s truly embarrassing to sit with my boyfriend’s parents and she brings up the affair time and time again!!! Thank you and I look forward to your response. Sarah