How I stopped suffering from past mistakes
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
It seems that It's too late to fix some mistakes, and that there is nothing we can do but suffer. This is the way I felt when my husband filed for divorce and my marriage ended.
We both had made mistakes during our 10-year marriage. There were many things I wished I'd said or done differently. I should have been kinder, more understanding, more supportive .... But it was too late.
When I tearfully told my feelings of remorse and guilt to a friend, he listened quietly and then said, "Don't be like Lot's wife. Don't look back." I looked up the story of Lot in the Bible and found some helpful guidance.
Lot, his wife, and two daughters were instructed by angels to leave their city of Sodom a place of perversion and violence. The angels took them by the hand and led them out of the city. Then one of the angels said, "Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed" (Gen. 19:17). I took the angel's instructions as specific steps for what I needed to do in my own thinking, to move forward with my life.
'Look not behind thee'
Don't look back. Stop the mental replay of past mistakes, no matter who made them. Why? The story says that when Lot's wife looked back, she "became a pillar of salt"; she could no longer move forward. This really helped me. I pictured trying to ride my bicycle while looking backward. It wouldn't work. Likewise, I couldn't move forward in life while looking backward. The angels told Lot what to do next.
'Neither stay thou in all the plain'
Once I'd turned away from past mistakes (I had to do this persistently), I still had to get off the plain. For me, the plain was made up of flat, resigned thoughts, such as, "Everybody makes mistakes; I'm only human; it's my nature to make mistakes." Or, "Maybe time will heal the regrets." Lot was told not to stay in the plain, but to move forward to a specific goal.
'Escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed'
To me, this told me not to be consumed by past mistakes. In the Bible, mountains are often seen as holy places. I saw this as instruction to lift my thinking higher closer to God. But how could I stop feeling that I was a messed-up person? How could I feel closer to God? I found this helpful idea, written by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper: "The way to extract error from mortal mind is to pour in Truth through flood-tides of Love" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 201).
What is this Truth? Here's where I needed to look beyond the material view of myself to what God is and how He made me. The Bible says that God is Love and that God loves us. He made us in His image and likeness. He made us good, innocent, upright, and perfect.
I needed to obey the angels' instructions many times. I refused to look back. I didn't stay where I was mentally. I lifted my thought to God's loving approval of me as His precious child. This completely healed my remorse, and I felt happy and whole. I'm still using this lesson when I make mistakes. It helps me recover quickly and move forward to do better.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13, 14