Forgetting What’s Behind or Auld Lang Syne?

That time is upon us once again, the end of one year and the beginning of a new one. It’s a time when we look back at the year and resolve to do things better in the year to come. We resolve to improve our health, our diet, to be more productive, to make more money-to be a better version of ourselves. Wise investors buy into gym stocks in January and sell off in February for an easy and predictable return knowing how quickly we give up on resolutions. We ring out the old year with a rendition of an old Scottish drinking song, Auld Lang Syne. Us Scots know a thing or two about drinking songs. In the original version of this song there are five stanzas, each ending with a toast or draught. By the time the song ends a Scot will be feeling pretty good.

Auld Lang Syne means ”of better times” or ”of days gone by”. We are to look back with fondness on good times shared with family and friends whenever ”brought to mind”. However Paul says in Philippians to forget what’s behind and press forward anticipating what’s to come. Is this a contradiction to days gone by? I want to suggest both are possible and healthy. Let me explain.

We are all unique individuals with lives based upon our own history, experiences and memories, mostly good but a few bad. We are also equipped with the ability to filter which memories to cherish and ponder and which ones to erase or delete from our mind. Pleasant memories can be motivational. Before the pandemic you might have had a great job so you know you have the qualifications to have one again. Your relationship may have ended but you remember how magical the years were when they were good and you know you want that again. You remember how good you felt at 175 lbs. and you know you can get there again with discipline and a change of eating habits.

But there are those memories that can be haunting, the failures, the mistakes, the expectations not met, the low times when motivation was nonexistent, not the kind of memories you raise a glass to. Perhaps the Apostle is referring to these types of memories when he urges us to forget what’s behind and press forward. The disconnect for some is their filters are not activated and these haunts rush in hidden among the pleasant memories. These haunts are dream killers and road blocks to self-improvement or any resolution.

In order to prevent making resolutions with a shelf life of three weeks it’s imperative that we go into our settings and turn on our spam filters to block any incoming negativity so that only pleasant motivational memories remain. God no longer remembers our past slip-ups, why should we beat ourselves up over things God has already thrown into the trash bin? It’s time to empty our trash bin and clear all cache going into the new year. In Christ we have a purpose and a plan that can’t be defeated if we learn how to keep our minds fixed on good things.

God says look, I’m doing a new thing; God says I make everything new; God says in Christ are are a new creation. As we enter the new year I pray God blesses you with good health, spiritual prosperity and the resolve be all He intended you to be so that Auld Lang Syne might include days to come. Have a blessed and peaceful New Year!