A relationship from my teen years still makes me wince whenever the girl's name comes to mind. One day I was praying about looking her up to tell her how sorry I felt for how I acted 25 years ago. One of my best friends — an experienced family counselor — adamantly opposed the idea. Steve said that looking up someone after two decades can be dangerous; you don't know what's happening in their life. The potential for hurt is just as great as the potential for healing.
But the clincher came when he said, "Look, why don't you take all the energy you're using thinking about something from your distant past and instead spend it planning on how you can love your wife today?"
That's when it dawned on me that guilt sometimes attacks us by using a dead relationship to distract us from a living one.
Some things in our past can't be "fixed." You can repent, you can ask for forgiveness, but you can't always go back — nor should you always try. Some of us are more introspective and hold onto our guilt in such a way that we become blinded to our present obligations. In a way, this is a useful tool for Satan — instead of us working on something that can be improved and "fixed" (our present marriage), he lures us into wasting energy on a past relationship that can't.
Very clever, Satan — but we're on to you!
Instead of worrying about what you did ten or fifteen years ago, rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ, receive His grace, and ask God to empower you to do something creatively loving today.
[Read the rest of the article at For the Family.]