We need to look back. Many times in my life I have looked back over how the has led me-and that has renewed my faith. When I face a difficult situation and it looks as if there is no way out, I remind myself of the promises in the Bible and listen to the encouragement that other believers give me. But the thing that strengthens my faith most of all is when I look back. The Lord asks me, "Have I ever let you down even once so far?" I have to reply "No, Lord. Not even once." Then He says, "I won't let you down now either". The backward look encourages me more than anything else.
Have you fallen again? Look back and see how the Lord forgave you in the past. When He forgave you, didn't He know that you would fall again? Was that a surprise to Him that you fell again? No. Then He will forgive you again. Look back with gratitude. that will strengthen your faith. Be thankful for the Lord's mercy. When you look at your failures in the past, you will learn to be merciful to other believers around you who fail.
But there is another way in which we must not look back. Paul said, "forgetting the things that are behind" Philippians 3:13. If we look back in a wrong way, we will get discouraged and think that we are useless and a failure in life, having wasted so many years of our life.
Let me give a word of encouragement to those who feel they have wasted their lives. Jesus told a parable of some labourers who did not work 11 hours out of 12 in a working day. At the 11th hour a man called them and asked them to work in his vineyard. They went and worked for just one hour. But Jesus said that they got their wages first! Those who worked for 12 hours got their reward last! I hope that encourages you. We should not look back in discouragement. Neither should we look back in pride." "forgetting the things that are behind" relates to both the things that discourage us as well as the things that make us proud. If you can think of anything that discourages you or makes you proud, I would ask you to forget it as soon as possible. But wse need to look back with gratitude to God always, for what He has done for us in the past. That's the backward look I am talking about. Peter says that those who don't look back like that, but forget their purification from their sins will be blind and short-sighted (2 Peter 1:9).