We tend to either idolize the past or the future. We look back to what we believe was a better time or we look forward to the changes the future will bring. We are not content with the present and believe that either going back or forward will solve our problems.
In Ecclesiastes 7:10, Solomon warns against longing for the good old days. He writes, “Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.” What is remembered about the past is often an idolized version of what really took place. We remember the good rather than the bad. We forget the past was not good for everyone, and that sin was as much of a problem back then as it is today. The past does offer the advantage of wisdom that has been tried and tested. Although we should not idolize the past, to dismiss it completely would be a grave mistake.
Others look to the future and progress to solve the problems of our age. An idolized version of what will come to be is paraded as the answer to what ails us. It is believed there are better days ahead of us if we could simply get beyond the things and ideas that are holding us back. What is forgotten is that the future will come with its own set of problems. The future does offer the possibility of a new beginning. It is a chance to right wrongs and learn from our past mistakes, but it will never be the idolized version we think it will be.
Both of these views share the same mistake. We may believe our problems can be solved by time, either going back or forwards. The truth is time will never be able to deal with the problem of sin. Only Jesus offers a solution to sin. We can gain valuable wisdom from the past and we can set out to make a better future by following Jesus, but we must be careful not to idolize either. May we have a proper perspective on our past and future, while realizing that today is all we can affect.