“But Paul shook the snake off into the fire.” Ac 28:5 NIV
The story’s told of a farmer whose mule fell into a well. Since he had no way to get him out, he decided to bury him there. He got a truckload of dirt and dumped it on top of the mule. But instead of lying down under it, the mule started kicking and snorting until he worked his way to the top of it. This continued all afternoon. Truckload after truckload, the mule just kept shaking it off and stepping on top of it. Finally when the dirt reached the top of the well the mule just snorted and walked away, a dirtier but a wiser mule. What was intended to bury him, just brought him out on top.
On his way to Rome Paul was shipwrecked on an island. As he was gathering firewood a snake attached itself to his arm. What did he do? The Bible says he just “shook it off.” There’s an important lesson for you in those two stories. You can either dwell on the past, or shake it off and move toward the future God has planned for you. Paul, a man with a past, writes about “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Php 3:13 NKJV). Now, Paul didn’t forget his past, he just shook it off and kept going. You say, “But I’ve failed so badly.” The Bible says, “[He] will not remember your sins” (Isa 43:25 NAS). Sometimes forgiveness requires a healing process, but until you make the decision to forgive yourself and others, and “shake it off,” the process can’t even begin.