There is a tendency in relationships to write people off when they say something that we’ve heard before. We do it in all sorts of relationships, not just the romantic ones (though this seems to be especially true in romantic relationships). We simply say that we’ve heard it before and it wasn’t true then, so why should it be true now? We hear our significant other tell us, “I don’t want to hurt you. Trust in what we have.” We hear those sweet promises and we quickly write them off, we won’t let ourselves fall for the same thing yet again.
The thing is that on some level we really, really want to believe these people when they tell us all of these things, but history has taught us not to hold our breath. Chances are that we are quick to think or say, “I’ve heard it all before and none of it was true.” We’ve heard the promises, the hope, the joy of a future spent together. We’ve heard the words and seen the actions fall short. Here, I daresay, Taylor Swift has a bit of wisdom for us: what’s past is past. What we’ve been told before (usually by someone else, mind you) holds no weight now. Are your old flames promising you that they won’t break your heart again? If so, then it makes sense to say that you’ve heard it before and want to write them off, or, at the very least, not fully believe their words. But as we move forward in life and in relationships, it no longer makes sense to say that we’ve heard it before. Because while we may have heard those exact words before, we haven’t heard them from the person standing in front of us. If we write them off because someone else wasn’t true to their word, then we do the person in front of us a disservice.
We may have heard the promises before and they all fell flat. But now, as we move forward and grow, God provides us with new opportunities to hear those same words and see them fulfilled, but we have to be open to those opportunities. If we simply write off everyone who says something similar to something someone else told us that didn’t turn out to be true, then we’ll never really learn to trust or to hope, will we? If we don’t let the past be past, then we will remain there, forever stuck in the lies we’ve heard before. Instead, God offers us a chance to move forward, to hear those same words, those same promises and to choose hope over fear, promise over rejection, and love over mistrust.
In each relationship we encounter, be it romantic, friendship, or family, we have the chance to start anew. Even if someone we know is telling us the same things they’ve told us before we can choose to see them as a new person. Sometimes – in cases that only you know – people haven’t changed and we’d do well to guard ourselves against empty promises. But other times people do change and the person we knew who sold us the lofty, but ultimately empty words changes, they become a new person who can mean what they say and say what they mean. The choice, as always, lies with us: to cling to the past and write people (the same people or new people) off, or hope for a brighter future. As the Goo Goo Dolls sing, “You ask me what I want this year, and I try to make this kind and clear, just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days. ‘Cause I don’t need boxes wrapped in strings, and designer love and empty things, just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days. So take these words, and sing out loud, ’cause everyone is forgiven now, ’cause tonight’s the night the world begins again.” The chance for better days is ours, we can choose to forgive, to heal the hurt and move forward, we can choose to make tonight the night that the world begins again.