My computer has a folder of Temporary Files. It's full of data that was once needed, but isn't currently necessary. I don't intentionally create those files; they just seem to appear out of thin air, occupying space on my computer. Most experts will tell you that these files need to be deleted now and again, or they will begin to slow down your computer's operating system. One rule of thumb says that if the date on those files isn't today's date, they can be safely erased.
I have a similar folder inside my head. Unfortunately, the contents of this folder aren't as harmless as what's inside the Temporary Files in my computer. This folder contains a complete archive of bad things that have happened in the past, both things that I've done and things that have been done to me. I've got video, audio, and text, a whole multimedia display of negativity. When I least want them to, these things worm their way out of my past into my present.
I remember the times I embarrassed myself.
I remember the times that I hurt other people.
I remember my failures. I remember my sin.
I remember the times I was mistreated.
I remember the ways that people hurt me, the things they said, the things they did.
I remember those times that other people let me down.
I know that none of that remembering does me any good. Those things from the past only serve to slow things down, to spoil today with yesterday's hurts. Like those temporary files on my computer, what I really need to do is get rid of them.
The apostle Paul wrote "Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it yet. But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and straining toward those things which are ahead, I press on toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14).
We have to put our past in the past and set our eyes on what lies ahead. We have a God who is willing to forgive anything and everything that we've done, if we'll only let Him. And He'll teach us to do the same with other people.