And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21
Sunday, my pastor made a comment about how the armor of God covers your front to protect you from the enemy. He said “we are supposed to be in offense, so we are running towards the enemy.” The armor of God doesn’t protect your backside. When he said that I thought about how often I have allowed myself to turn around and let my past to be part of my battle, even though the past is over.
The past is behind me. It can no longer harm me. My past doesn’t define me. Yet, for whatever reason, I still turn around and keep battling things from my past. I don’t really want too; I allow the enemy to bring things up that make me want to engage or defend. I respond like whatever it is, I need to prove that is not who I am anymore.
It is a distraction from where I am right now. And it distracts from what I can actually change. It’s a distraction from what can really harm me in the here and now. It is a distraction from how God has defined me. God is not focused on my past, but needs me to be present now as He works to bring me to the future He designed for me.
I think back to a couple years ago. There was a big push about removing statutes and changing names of public places because they were offensive. Part of me understands the idea of collective trauma, not wanting to lift up people who were oppressive. At the same time, people are allowed to change and grow. If the negative behavior was done after the good, I can support the idea of not elevating someone with a statute or naming something public after them.
But if a person changed that should be celebrated and honored. The negative is the past and then good came (in all honesty, it’s all the past but that is another thought). Speaking of the positive change is what we are supposed to do. Instead there was so much energy on wanting to fight to the past and rewrite history. Many people I had to look up to see what all the fuss was about.
In focusing on the past, we are failing to focus on the here and now. We’re failing to focus on the current things that we can change. Being the difference now, we want to see in the world going forward. It starts with where we are, right now.
We have to stop giving so much focus to the past. Not forgetting it, because we certainly don’t want to repeat it. We need to create the environment today that brings change because that is worth fighting for. We need to fight for equality of all races now because the battle should have already been over. I know that there are still ignorant people who judge based on ethnicity, but there is only one race, the human race. We are all in this together. Every person should be able to earn a livable wage now.
We can’t change the past. We can focus on the now. We can have open conversations about what is happening right now. We can make changes about what’s going on today. We can stop putting all of our attention on righting the past and focus on righting things now.
Yes, there are systematic changes that need to occur. Still they can’t change what’s happened in the past. We can only change the system going forward. That requires people being willing to sit at the table and deal with what we want to see today. Then to focus on what we want to see going forward. We have to stop battling the past and start to walk in the now. This is the way, we just need to walk in it.
Prayer – Lord, I acknowledge and repent of the terrible things that have been done to people through the centuries. I thank you that You already paid the price for healing those injustices. I pray that You would help Your people to turn our focus to the battle that is now. Let us keep our focus on the direction we want to head and stop turning to the past. Let us hear Your voice saying “this is the way” and then to obediently walk in it.