Going Forward Without Looking Back

In my column today, I want to briefly consider and expound on the issue of going forward without looking back. I dare to say that most of us have had to overcome the human tendency of looking back at our past failures, mistakes, blunders, and losses before we could effectively navigate the road that pointed and led us to our future. Many are so preoccupied with their dark and problematic past that they cannot focus on what the future holds for them. Just as it is impossible for a driver on a highway to continually look behind them and drive a vehicle forward without wrecking and causing much damage and loss of lives, it is also true when one becomes focused and transfixed on their past.
Right here, I need to make a distinction between fond and positive reflections and those that produce much grief, detriment, and misery. There are some common bad memories that many can identify with and have had to struggle both mentally and emotionally to overcome. The following is about a few.

The Memory of a
Failed Marriage
Perhaps at the top of why so many people cannot go forward without looking back with much regret and pain is because of a failed marriage. Divorces have reached alarming and epidemic proportions in our culture in both the secular and Christian communities. Multiple thousands of people are having to contend with the challenges of going forward without looking back at the pain and regrets they experienced, due to a failed marriage. Many who have experienced such disappointments and hurts are both scarred and skeptical about the prospect of ever getting married again. Unlike some who have experienced multiple divorces and remarriages, these people have literally developed a phobia of getting married again.

The Memory of
Friendship Betrayal
Another area that involves relationships between people that often causes them to be unable to move forward without looking back stems from broken friendships. I have been the victim of broken friendships and betrayal by people who I was close to. It was very challenging and difficult for me to come to terms with the reality of certain people who I had made dear and near to me who ultimately betrayed my trust and shattered our friendship (though as a pastor and follower of Jesus Christ, I still love them). Nevertheless, I have had to overcome the pain of their betrayal. I have found it very challenging to go forward with new friends without looking back and wondering whether they will betray me as the others did. I am certain that there are quite a few people out there who can empathize with my challenge and condition. Thank God, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Business Failures
I believe that one of the primary reasons why we see so few businesses being started in our city and locale is not due to the lack of good ideas. Apart from the deficiency of capital and assets, one of the reasons why many entrepreneurs with good ideas do not start new businesses is because of previous failures. Simply put, they are looking back at how they failed in the past and are afraid to try again. It is a statistical fact that most upstart businesses fail. However, history is replete with success stories of entrepreneurs who failed many times in their business endeavors who kept trying until they hit paydirt and are now multi-millionaires and billionaires. I will conclude this section with an old adage to people out there who are ambitious with some good ideas for a new business: “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again” (Edward Hickson).

Failures That Are
Common to the Majority
I do not have the space to consider and comment on all things that people must stop looking back to if they intend to go forward in a progressive and productive way. In conclusion, I will present a very practical way that anyone can go forward without looking back at their past failures. First, I am of the opinion that if anyone is going to be able to go forward in any area, they must be willing to forget or let go of those things which are behind them and pursue those things which are before them (Philippians 3:13-14). Secondly, if anyone is going to go forward without looking back, they must make sure that they have learned from the mistakes that caused them to fail the first time. Thirdly, if anyone is going to go forward without looking back, they must overcome the fear of failure. The fear of failure has kept many looking in the rearview mirror as they endeavored to move forward. Such backward focusing will always lead to a wreck and ruin. Finally, anyone who wants to move forward without looking back must anticipate delays and standstills. Delays and standstills do not mean that you made a mistake and are headed for failure or defeat. They are a part of life occurrences in every area.
They are a part of what the Bible refers to as time and chance occurrences (Ecclesiastes 9:11).
Hopefully, something I have shared with you in my column today will help you to move forward on the path of your purpose and destiny without looking back.

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