It is obvious that driving your car forward while staring into the rearview mirror doesn’t make much sense. In fact, if your gaze lasts too long, chances are pretty good that you will find yourself in the ditch or crashed into the back of a car in front of you!
That being said, there is something about human nature that makes it difficult to let go of that which is known and familiar. Even when we become obviously uncomfortable, our “comfort zone” will often still be favored over change. The Bible records an example of this very phenomenon in Genesis 19. Seems that Abraham’s nephew Lot, along with the wife and kids are living in the wicked city of Sodom, very uncomfortably comfortable among such wickedness. The culmination of the story occurs when God decides enough is enough and the city must be destroyed. On behalf of Uncle Abraham’s faithfulness, God sends two angels to give Lot and the family the heads up about the coming destruction:
“ With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.” When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and let them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them.” Genesis 19:15-16
Reading this passage in 2011 gives us the advantage of hindsight and while we are relieved that the family was led (maybe dragged?) out of danger, don’t you marvel over the fact that Lot “hesitated?” If the story ended here, we could turn it into a “…and they lived happily ever after” fairytale type account. The problem was much bigger than getting Lot, Mrs. Lot and the girls physically out of Sodom, because the Lot family had a “lot” going for them in Sodom (pun intended!): wealth, position and that all important comfort factor! Sadly, the story doesn’t have the fairy tale ending. The Bible records that Lot’s wife “looked back” and was turned into a pillar of salt. We can’t know all the reasons Mrs. Lot had for looking back, perhaps she was concerned about friends and neighbors, or maybe wanted to check to see if the house survived the fire, or simply grieving over life as she knew it. No matter the cause, the end result of moving forward while looking in the rearview mirror is the same.
Living life looking back can also be lethal to our marriages, family relationships and friendships today. We can’t move forward in life as long as we cling to the past or to unhealthy elements of our relationships that we desperately need to leave behind. Who or what we were in the past doesn’t have to continue to be who we are in the present, but we are indeed each responsible for that decision. The angels afforded Mrs. Lot the opportunity for a new life, but she refused to embrace it…and her husband had to live it without her. Don’t allow your comfort zone to rob you of a life shared with those you love most…
Because Every Heart Matters,
Heart Matters is a weekly column written by Angie Land, Director of the Family Life Ministries of the Lafayette Baptist Association, where she teaches bible studies, leads marriage and family conferences and offers biblical counseling to individuals, couples and families. Contact Angie with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org