“But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26 NIV).
Looking backwards—at the things we did in our past can have dire consequences. Even though we should always remember past mistakes so we won’t repeat them, we have to also remember that dwelling in the past can cause us to “drop anchor” and we never move from the past.
Remember the circumstances of Lot’s wife when the angel told them not to look backwards (Genesis 19:17)—she disobeyed and turned into a pillar of salt. Now, many scholars have theorized why she looked back. Some say she was reluctant to give up her status, some say she didn’t want to give up what she had, some say it was simply a matter of sadness. The bottom line is—she looked back and never got a chance to move forward—to see what God had in store for her.
That is exactly what we do when we become mired in the past. When we remember those who got in our way or the things we did that stunted our growth and maturity or the way we treated others and we cannot move from it—we get tangled in it and cannot move forward. In order to move forward, we must lift anchor and allow our relationship with God to steer us in the right direction—in position to receive all He has for us.
But it is not just us as individuals who drop anchor and refuse to budge. Collectively, we as an organized body of society find it difficult to release those we have traditionally done, year after year. We do some things without even know why we do it. The way we do education is out of tradition more than necessity. If we understood the necessity to change the way we do education, our children would not be illiterate as are so many adults. If the way we did parenting would include common sense and wisdom from God, we would not have the issues we have with children disrespecting adults and their parents. If the churches would learn to move forward and not just hold onto belief systems that hinder more than promote understanding, churches would be filled.
How much good does it do anyone to look back on failed relationships and wonder—“if I had to do it all over again, would anything change?”
How much good does it do for anyone to dwell on mistakes that cost promotion or opportunity?
How much good does it do for anyone to beat themselves up over decisions made when there was simply not sufficient information at-hand when the decision was made?
How much good does it do for anyone to keep doing the same thing, in the same way, expecting different result?
We have to learn to look at “our now” and deal with the present with the information we have and the ability to seek more. There is no excuse for anyone to be anchored to their past, unless that is where they want to be. When we become wise enough to understand that we cannot change the past and must exist in the present, we will more likely achieve those things that once appeared to elude us.