Hindsight is 20/20

December 14, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Posted in Common Expressions | 7 Comments
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“Hindsight” means looking back, or looking at something after the fact. Often we get into a difficult spot and look back and wish we had known what was going to happen, thinking that, if we had known, we would have done things differently. I experience this quite often when I find myself sitting in a traffic jam. “If only I had taken that exit I flew past five miles ago!”

The expression “Hindsight is 20/20” refers to the way that our foresight is often severely limited or blurry, although we seem to have perfect vision when it comes to evaluating our actions once we have already seen the consequences. Attributing 20/20 hindsight is our way of resigning ourselves to our current situation while forlornly wishing we could have seen the future.

God, unlike us, has “foresight” that’s better than 20/20. He always knows what to expect.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jeremiah 29:11

Many times the enemies of God will experience hindsight, and, if you think it’s frustrating for you, as a child of God, when you wish that your foresight had been as accurate as your hindsight, imagine how it’s going to be for those who didn’t believe the Word of God.

Nineveh is of old like a pool of water: yet they shall flee away. Stand, stand, shall they cry; but none shall look back.

Nahum 2:8

Nineveh repented under the preaching of Jonah, but after a while the Ninevites went back to their old ways, and when Nahum and the other prophets warned them, they prophesied that, when they were conquered, their commanders would order them to stand, but they would be like water draining out of a pool, and they would not “look back.” In other words their hindsight would be a reproach to them.

Spiritually speaking, we don’t have to wait for 20/20 hindsight to evaluate the outcome.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

When you get discouraged, when you don’t have peace, go ahead and cheat a little, and get out your hindsight ahead of time. We are in Christ, and He has overcome the world.

Sometimes we get a little discouraged because what we expect doesn’t happen. Even John the Baptist got a little discouraged. People heard him say, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” but they forgot what had to happen to a lamb for it to take away sin.

And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?

Luke 7:19

Did you ever wonder why God doesn’t let us see everything that’s going to happen? Some people think it would take all the fun out of life if there were no surprises, but the reality is that God, for the most part, wants us looking forward, not looking back. A famous quote, often used at the commencement of a new venture undertaken on the foundation of an old establishment, says, “Hats off to the past, coats off to the future.”

And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Luke 9:59-62

A farmer trying to plough straight rows and looking back would do a terrible job. When we say, “Let’s get moving,” generally speaking, we are looking forward. It’s hard to grow in Christian maturity if you’re always looking back. Remember Lot’s wife. (A husband once said, “Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. My wife looked back and turned into a mailbox.”) Looking back is a sign that we’re still yearning for the things of the world, the things of the flesh. We’re not supposed to fondly remember those things anymore. As Christians, we’re looking ahead because we’re following what we love. We’re following Jesus.

Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

II Timothy 4:10

I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.
Though I may wonder, I still will follow;

The world behind me, the cross before me;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.

Attributed to S. Sundar Singh

Hindsight may be 20/20, but, as believers, we’re not worried about our hindsight. We’re too busy following… and looking back may lead to turning back.


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