I’m no admirer of Eleanor Roosevelt. The Roosevelt’s and their fellow liberals allowed an infestation of communists and fellow-travelers in high government positions before and during WWII.
She did have two admirable traits worth emulating. One, she could arrive at a course of action and follow it until it succeeded or failed. Two, if it failed, she began again on another course. She once told Edna Ferber that she didn’t have more energy than others, but she didn’t use her available energy on regret. As an example, if she failed to make a good speech, she forgot it and determined to improve the next time. The willingness to decide and act energized her, though it sometimes led to failure. But failure never prevented trying again.
Learning to do our best. Learning from our mistakes. Learning to begin again. Learning to forget our past. Do we understand that the ability to forget is also a blessing? That while a retentive memory treasures past joys, a gracious forgetfulness obliterates past blunders?
The apostle Paul stressed this point in Philippians 3:13-14, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead….” Could he ever have lived in peace with himself if he hadn’t learned to forget his brutal crimes against innocent Christians?
So with us. Today has had its share of errors. We’ve spoken the unspeakable thing or omitted the essential part. Well…don’t let the memory of it haunt us. Do better tomorrow what we’ve done poorly today. But resist surrendering to self-destructive regret.
Repent if that’s necessary. Willingly accept God’s indulgent forgiveness. And, “forgetting what is behind,” rest in Christ’s peace and live in the certainty of his victory.