As I was driving into the office this morning I noticed an all too common scene on our roadways. Sure, they come in diverse sizes and species, but we are all used to seeing the regular sight of some poor animal that just didn’t quite make it across the road.
There they are, still lying in the spot where they met their fate. (Just hold on, I’m going somewhere slightly less gross and more spiritual with this, trust me . . . )
Just imagine if I had someone riding with me this morning who suddenly shouted out as we were passing one of the many animal homicide scenes, “STOP RIGHT HERE – STOP!” Once my mild heart attack ended and I stopped the vehicle, imagine that this person jumped out of the vehicle and ran over to that dead, disgusting carcass and began doing CPR. First of all, I’m pretty sure I’d try to sneak back to my vehicle and drive away really, really fast. But wouldn’t that be strange?
Or just imagine if, after shouting the same thing to me, I pull over and that person jumps out of the vehicle with a bucket and shovel and proceeds to collect what’s left of the animal to take with us. Again, I’m pretty sure I’d try to quickly leave this person before they had a chance to return to my SUV. (My mind instantly goes to little Granny Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies jumping into action to collect ingredients for her famous “Road Kill Stew.”) Gross.
Truth is many of us are so used to seeing the sight of road kill that we don’t even notice it much anymore. We may pay enough attention to swerve to avoid hitting it again, sure. But there’s no way we would actually stop. We probably feel no emotional connection, unless we recognize the animal as a pet of ours. Otherwise, we simply don’t give it a second thought.
Can I be real with you today? There are some of us who need to stop trying to do CPR on some of life’s road kill from our past.
Most all of us have some chapter of our life’s history that we miss – great memories that we cherish and would love to return to. But here’s the fact: you can’t. We don’t have a time machine, and if we did we would most likely be wise NOT to use it. Our experiences are used of God to grow us into who we are.
So has someone hurt you? Forgive them (Yes, I totally just went there) and move on.
Have you hurt someone else? Ask for their forgiveness and move on.
Been handed a bad deal somewhere back there? Ask God to give you grace to move on.
There’s no need to bring back the past again. Don’t camp out beside your life’s road kill.
What I mean by that is very simple: That was yesterday; this is today. Don’t spend every day opining over what you went through in your yesterdays.
So many of us spend so much time reliving our past hurts that healing is never totally possible, which means we’ll never experience the sheer joy of what God has for us in the future because the past still holds the deed to our minds.
Stop trying to make road your own road kill stew.
And briefly a note regarding others’ pain: Be compassionate. We don’t tend to feel anything about that road kill unless we recognize it as a personal pet, and then it hurts. Take the time to feel someone else’s pain other than just your own. Sure, we all need to move on from the past. But when we see someone hurting, often times the best medicine to help them move on is some compassion from us – someone to hold their hand as they walk away.
Paul said he was “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.” Surely, if that strategy was good enough for Paul, it’s good enough for us.
Copyright © 2021 by Blake Martin @https://pastorblakeman.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/road-kill-stew/ No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org.