In the following article, I'm going to explore the biblical idea of being paralyzed by the past and how you can avoid that. But first, we must understand the story of a distrusting and disobedient wife.
She was Lot's wife (her story is in Genesis 19). She had moved to the city called Sodom with her husband (Lot) and her two daughters, hoping for a better life. Instead, her family was surrounded by many sinners who reveled in their wrongdoing.
God, our Father, hated the evil things being done in that city and he sent angels to destroy it. Lot recognized the two angels when they arrived at the city and pressed them to dine with his family. So they did.
Sodom townspeople came to the door and wanted the angels to come out and engage in some sinful activities, but Lot begged the Sodom townspeople to spare his angelic visitors.
His angelic visitors pushed the townspeople away with their power and strength. Then, they took Lot and his family members by the hand and led them out of the city, which the angels were going to destroy.
The angels told Lot's family to NOT LOOK BACK as they ran away from Sodom, or else they would be swept up in the destruction of the city.
But Lot's wife looked back.
She saw the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (another sinful city nearby). She saw God rain fire upon the city from heaven. She turned into a pillar of salt because of her disobedience. Lot and the two daughters journeyed on without her.
Lot's wife did not believe the angels when they commanded her to never look back because if she did, she would be destroyed too. She did not listen to the angels' wisdom, and that was her downfall.
Jesus used the story of Lot's wife as a cautionary tale.
Jesus warned his disciples a lot about being prepared for the Son of Man's return to earth (and how that would lead to the Judgement of nations - sheep and goats separated and all that). He says the following about both topics (being prepared and Lot's wife) in the gospel of Luke:
Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; on the day when Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all. So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, a person who is on the housetop and whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them, and likewise a person in the field must not return to what was left behind. Remember the wife of Lot.
Jesus reminds us to always be prepared for his return. He reminds us that material goods are not important in the long run. Jesus also links us to the story of Lot's wife and says do not return to what was left behind - which, in this case, is sin and destruction.
But many of us look at our past mistakes and the destruction that follows instead of looking forward to Jesus. So many of us do exactly what Lot's wife did when we look back at the past... and then we all get paralyzed by the horror, shame, guilt, and frustration when we return our focus to what we need to leave behind.
St. Paul (formerly Saul) did a lot of really bad stuff. He persecuted the church he should've joined. Through the mercy of God, Jesus reached out to Saul and gave him the grace to transform him into St. Paul.
St. Paul wrote in Philippians 3:12-14 that he intentionally looks forward to the future instead of holding on to his past. He said that was the only way he can be a disciple of Christ is to let grace transform his soul. Paul believed in the power of grace to change his life for the better, and the grace that changed him is the same grace that can change us.
All we have to do is what Lot's wife did not - believe in the truth, and look forward with hope instead of looking to the past with fear.
Peace and blessings,