In learning from past mistakes, make sure you don’t lose sight of brighter days ahead. Faith in Jesus Christ is always grounded in hope for the future.
Sometimes we may feel stuck in the past. Although this is a common experience, living in the past can hold us back from valuable future experiences. Even when we feel trapped, we can have the faith to move forward.
In his BYU devotional address titled “‘Remember Lot’s Wife’: Faith Is for the Future,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland explains, “Faith is for the future. Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there. Faith trusts that God has great things in store for each of us and that Christ truly is the ‘high priest of good things to come.’” Faith in Jesus Christ is grounded in past experiences, but ultimately launches us into the future with confidence.
The practice of directing our faith toward the future starts with some basic principles.
- Remember enough to learn from mistakes. Our past mistakes can teach us even more than our successes. Remembering past mistakes and problems ensures that we won’t make the same mistakes again. Mistakes prepare us for future successes.
- Learn from the past, then move on. The title of Elder Holland’s talk comes from the story of Lot’s wife in Genesis 19. Lot’s wife looked toward her corrupt city after she and her family were commanded to flee without looking back. She was looking to the past, wishing she could remain there. When we are trying to change, we need to look forward and confidently implement positive changes rather than looking back at our past sins.
- Don’t dwell on mistakes. Elder Holland explains that dwelling on our past mistakes is “the worst kind of wallowing in the past from which we are called to cease and desist.” Desiring to improve is natural, but beating ourselves up over mistakes can lead to what Elder Holland calls “divine discontent.”
- Give other people the chance to change. As we move forward from our own mistakes, we will also learn to have more patience and compassion for those who are going through the same experience. You wouldn’t want to be remembered for your mistakes, and others deserve the same courtesy.
We don’t have to feel trapped by our mistakes. Learning from our mistakes can be a powerful process that connects us to God and helps us live happier, more faithful lives.
—Kate Davis, Latter-day Saint Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY DETLAFF TORSTEN
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