I know God has forgiven me for all the bad things I did when I was young, but will I ever forget them? They haunt me all the time because I know my life would have been much different if I just hadn't chosen to go down the wrong road.


Have you ever stopped to thank God — really thank Him — that you’re no longer on that wrong road? Yes, your life would have been different if you’d never gotten on it in the first place — but what if you were still on it? The Bible says, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

I often say in this column that you can’t change the past — and it’s true. But you can change the future, and that should be your focus. And one of the things you can change — with God’s help — is your habit of constantly dredging up your memories of the past. The Apostle Paul did terrible things as a young man, imprisoning Christians and doing his best to stamp out the church. But all this changed once he became a follower of Jesus: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on … to win the prize for which God has called me” (Philippians 3:13-14).

Ask God to fill you with His love, and with the truth of His forgiveness in Christ. Then ask Him to help you to be grateful for your life right now, and to guide you in the future. Don’t yearn after the life you might have had (but never will), but “be content with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5).