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« on: February 07, 2004, 05:54:31 PM »

Never Look Back
by Adam Porter

In high school I used to spend a great deal of time both in and out of class writing stories. These were not publishable mind you, merely diversionary mind candy, devoid both of plot and character exposition. These epics of adolescent imagination were hen scratched into smallish five subject notebooks that even now litter my bookshelves and bottom dresser drawer.

It became a sort of right of passage for these stories to be skimmed and appreciated by my classmates who would then share their comments, advice and favorite bands and movie lines on the cardboard back covers of the notebooks. One such entry reads: ‘good luck in all you do in life, go for your dreams and never look back’. This kind of advice is rampant on high school and college campuses. It resonates in music and movies and can be heard in most commencement addresses, but is it good advice or just an overused cliché?

The reality most of us face is one of constant glancing over our shoulder. The multi-million dollar therapy industry in the secular and equally lucrative inner healing ministry permeating our evangelical churches bear this out. We live our lives punching the clock and substitute true inner reflection with dissecting the events of the past. We spend hundreds of dollars on counselors who take months and even years to remind us that forgiveness is the only way to move on.

We leave the counselor and head directly to our neighborhood investment broker to ‘plan for the future’. A few dollars to him every month and we feel secure. Our lives have become fragmented exercises in which we sate our fears and console our egos in lieu of real change. Consider this: we purchase everything on credit or payment plan and complain about aggravating telemarketers and bill collectors we in turn fend off with a few bucks until payday.

We send money to political parties and buy bumper stickers supporting politicians who will take our money and funnel it away as they spend days and weeks deciding on whether to decide something. Nothing ever really gets done, but we feel vindicated because we have done ‘our part’ by writing a check or holding a sign or circulating a petition. We drop money in the plate at church shooting smug glances down the row for those who did not contribute to the cause. We listen to inspirational messages about winning souls and helping people but silently watch our money go to buy new song books, sound equipment, buildings, church signs and community potlucks that always seem to draw only the church members while the community waits at home to be invited.

The neighborhood kids still play ball on the bent basketball rim on a back lot longing to venture into your sparkling new gym and your neighbor whose kid is in drug rehab and spouse just ran off still hasn’t been invited to church.

Do we ever really think about what today holds and tomorrow brings? Most of us will refuse to forgive so and so because ‘we just can’t’ and end up dying slowly in a nursing home, because so and so is our only surviving relative or friend. Our kid’s college fund we planned with our broker will be long gone because we emptied it to meet this month’s debt collector roll call due to jumping at the chance to accept all those ‘great offers’ from the telemarkerters. The cars you just traded in on a wonderful new leased vehicle that you can’t afford still bear the bumper stickers supporting some politician who is languishing away his vacation days in Maui after another eventless session of congress.

The signs you bore shamelessly at traffic stops and highway medians to help him ‘earn his chance to make a difference’ now gather dust in the garage next to your other car whose lease is up in two years. The car already carries too many miles and sports a stylish bumper sticker trumpeting the virtue of your new favorite political hack. Your church has a glorious new building ‘for the cause of Christ’ and your pastor drives a new Caddie, presumably for the same cause. The basketball rim that was broken is now gone and the neighborhood kids have deserted the naked backboard for the city courts where they learn about gangs, drugs and how to steal your pastor’s new Caddie. Your neighbor has begun to drink heavily because she can’t find her son and her habit has emptied her bank account. She needs twenty dollars by Friday or they will come to turn off her lights. She would come to ask you and you would be more than happy to give it (what a great ‘testimony’ for church it would be) but she will not ask because her mama always said that you don’t start a relationship, especially after two years, by asking for money.

Time is always the excuse given when we are presented with these issues. We let our day planners look ahead for us, not our hearts. Our newsmen, pastors, therapists, teachers and politicians think for us even though we know they gave up debating for the common good a long time ago. It’s the system, we argue, and we can’t change it. That lie is the seed of perpetual failure. Politics will not work, money management and church programs alone are not solutions and payday advance will not solve your neighbor’s problems. Only people, one at a time, deciding to better someone else’s life, to help them find freedom, salvation and abundant life will change the world.

Jesus offered this solution; both our churches and country were founded on it. We have ignored it because we believe that we must ‘never look back’ and plan for the future while the present remains an endless stream of monotonous irritants and mini-catastrophes. The past may not be pretty but we must remember it. The present may not be convenient despite you best efforts, but inconvenience really ain’t that bad. The future may be unsure and has not been written, but a piece of that puzzle fell into place while you read this essay. The remaining pieces are dropped on every ‘today’ you live to form a puzzle you wonder so much about. What will your picture look like to those who see your completed puzzle? Learn Truth from the past. Live Truth in the present. You won’t have to worry about your future. That is truth you can bank on. Look at it.
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I'll think of something.

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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2004, 11:45:44 AM »

Thanks, Adam! Very nice post-I enjoyed reading it.

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Jesus, remember me... Luke 23:42

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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2004, 05:06:55 PM »

Matthew 6:34
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

One day at a time, guys; one day at a time with Him.  Smiley

Covering your tracks is futile; God knows where you're going and where you've been.
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