Are you struggling with your past—maybe one of abuse and injustice; or a past of wrong choices and a sinful lifestyle? I want to encourage you to know that you don’t have to live the rest of your life shackled by your past.

Jesus said, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots” (Matthew 15:13). Did God plant that abuse in your life? No, it was the result of sin, someone else’s sin. God didn’t plant it, so it will be pulled up by the roots. Did God treat you unfairly, dishonestly, or with discrimination? No, people treat us that way but not God. Therefore, he didn’t plant that injustice so it will be pulled up. Did God reject you or leave you? No, he’s promised never to do that. So, since he didn’t plant that rejection in your life, it will be pulled up by the roots.

What does that mean? It simply means that he has the power to yank it out of your life so that it can do you no further harm. He didn’t plant it; he didn’t approve of it; he didn’t desire it for you. Therefore he is more than willing and able to pull it up by the roots. However, you’ve got to give him permission to do the weeding in the garden of your heart. Otherwise those painful seeds from the past just grow and grow and start to overtake all the beautiful flowers the Lord has planted in your life.

Another favorite scripture of mine is Isaiah 43:18-19: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

Do not dwell on the past! That is very good advice. It’s that dwelling and continual concentration on the past that gets you in trouble. I understand that in this life you’re not likely to be able to literally erase from your memory the painful things from your past, but when you live in the past, when the past controls your thinking, then you have no future.

Your past may be preventing you from knowing the joys and blessings God has planned for your future. God is waiting to do a new thing for you, but if you never forget what is behind you, you can’t even see the good things God wants to do. I pray that if you have been consumed with the past, you will determine to give that past over to God, allow him to handle it for you, and look for the new thing he wants to do for you. God wants you to be future-focused, and he can help you put those things from your past behind you so they no longer hold you hostage.