Our Bible verse for today: “… But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Leave the past in the past and get on with life.”
In 1987 Michael Morton was wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife. It happened in a small town in Texas. His wife was found brutally murdered and Michael was arrested and charged with the crime. There was no physical evidence linking him to the crime and there were no witnesses. The jury convicted Michael on flimsy circumstantial evidence and he was sentenced to life in prison.
Michael repeatedly denied his guilt. After many years in prison he was offered the chance for parole if he would only express remorse for his crime, but Michael refused. He said he would not confess to a crime he did not commit. Finally, in 2012, after twenty-five years in prison, DNA evidence from the original murder scene linked another man to the crime. It was further discovered that at the time of the trial the District Attorney had withheld evidence that would have exonerated Michael. As a result, Michael Morton spent twenty-five years of his life in prison for a murder he did not commit.
You would think Michael would be bitter and resentful about what was done to him, but you would be wrong. Although he acknowledges the terrible injustice done to him, and the awful cost of spending twenty-five years behind bars for a crime he did not commit, Michael is not a bitter or resentful man. While in prison he came to faith in Jesus Christ. He spent most of those twenty-five years cultivating his relationship with the Lord. The circumstances were terrible, but his relationship with Jesus was strong and fruitful.
When Michael was finally exonerated and released from prison he quickly resolved to move forward in life with joy and great expectation for what lies ahead. He resolved that despite what had happened to him in the past, he would not allow the past to ruin the present or steal his future. Michael drew a line in the sand, put the past behind him, and moved on to live with victory and joy. Michael Morton is an overcomer.
Far too many Christians allow themselves to remain shackled to their past. When we do that we allow the past to ruin the present and hinder the future. We’re not able to fully enjoy today, and we have little hope that the future will be any better. What happened to you back then continues to hurt you now and impedes your progress forward.
The Apostle Paul counsels us to leave the past in the past. Enjoy today, look forward to tomorrow, and get on with life. Overcomers don’t dwell on the past. We live fully for today and we look forward to tomorrow.