“It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday”

Okay. I’ll admit it. In my younger days, I was a fan of Boyz II Men. I think it was because it was one of the first groups I ever heard that sang A Cappella outside of church. It made me, as the oddball, non-instrumental Christian, feel a little more normal. One of their sappy love songs, or maybe a sorrowful farewell songs, is worth reviewing today.

How do I say goodbye to what we had?

The good times that made us laugh, outweighed the bad.

I thought we’d get to see forever, but forever has blown away.

It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.


I don’t know where this road is gonna lead to.

All I know is where we’ve been and what we’ve been through.

If it gets me to tomorrow, I hope it’s worth all the pain.

It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.


And I’ll take with me the memories to be my sunshine after the rain.

It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

So often when we experience disappointing moments, sorrows, or difficulties, we are expected to brush off the dirt, band aid our bruises, and move on. We are expected to let go of the painful past and look forward to the uncertain future. We are expected to just wave goodbye to a great past and set our sights on the future.

This is even argued Scripturally. “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3.13-14). This verse is summarized with the pattern: “Leave the past – Live the present – Look to the future”

Here’s the problem with this explanation—it’s not Scriptural! Notice in the context, Paul is telling the people that he had left his accomplishments in the past. He didn’t leave his bruises neglected nor did he leave his disappointments unacknowledged. The reality is that Paul never really got over his past. He mentions his painful past in his defense in Acts 22 and 26, calling to remembrance the fact that he had previously worked against Christ as an antagonist who persecuted the church. If you put the epistles he wrote in chronological order, at least we well as we can, you find that Paul still mentioned his past long after he became a Christian. In one of his last letters, he says of himself:

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost
(1 Timothy 1.13-15).

Paul’s past haunted him. He still felt he was the “chief of sinners” but he also recognized in the next verse “But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.”

We should have an acknowledgement of our history. We have to deal with our past, our disappointments, our sorrows. We must look intently at the bad.

But as the song above says, when we can look at the past, we can often see the good has outweighed the bad. We can see that what we’ve been through, because it leads to a better future, is worth all of the pain.

So let me encourage you today to pay attention to the last two lines of this song. Let’s take the memories and let them be our sunshine after the rain.  While we must always say goodbye to yesterday because we really have no choice, let’s use our yesterdays to guide us to a better tomorrow. Let’s learn from our mistakes. Let’s grow past our pains and heal from our bruises. Let’s grieve over what might have been.

Then let’s move forward. May God’s strength which carries us past yesterday also carry us into the future. It might be hard to say goodbye to yesterday, but let’s also stay open to saying hello to the future.