I have encountered recently and talked to a few people who have experienced this same thing.
You see someone from your younger days and they want to reminisce about the past, but it always ends up being about something you did wrong, illegal or that you are ashamed of. They know you are living a better life in Christ now; that you have moved on to the next chapter of your life and yet they want to bring you back to the place of pain and I often wonder why.
Is it because they really loved the “good ol’ days” or that they can’t get past them? Sometimes people who were once young grow up and really haven’t learned to embrace the new chapters in their life, or maybe are still in the same habits and bad behaviors they had as a young adult. We all have funny moments of dumb things we have done, and can laugh about, but when we try to talk about what we are doing now, somehow these people don’t want to hear it. I think it is easier for them to bring you back down to where they are than to try to do a new thing and rise up and be better.
My heart breaks when I see people still stuck in the past, openly making bad decisions and not wanting to change it. But when it becomes a problem is when they go to the friend that IS changing and making better decisions and they are jealous or angry. They don’t want that person to move on and be at top of their game.
I recently talked to a woman who used to be in a street gang. Her story is brutal and she recently turned her life over to Christ and started walking a different path. She is attending college and where she once thought she wasn’t smart enough, she is now at the top of her class! But someone from her past came around and tried to bring her back down. My response to her was this; when the thought come in your mind, “I used to be”…replace it with the words “I now am!” We are new creations in Christ. It doesn’t mean we don’t have that ugly past, but we don’t have to stay there either.
My testimony when I speak is all about my past, but it is a story of renewal and hope and a second (or third) chance at life. I surround myself with people who lift me up and support me now. People who believe I can be better and give me hope and pray for me in my gifting. I don’t hang out with people who only want to find fault in everything I do or remind me of what a failure I was or am.
There is a way to visit your past without living in it. Don’t get stuck there! There is a whole different life waiting for you. God makes you new each day. Embrace the future. Ask Him to show you the pathway to it. He has great plans for you.
What kind of friends do you surround yourself with? How can you pray for those friends today to help them in their future?