forward looking

This phrase sounds positive and generally has a positive impression, but lately I have been hearing it in bizarre contexts, to the point that it is yet another phrase to lose its meaning. Words still matter, but this phrase’s meaning has been slowly perverted over time. At best, its meaning is a hollow legal disclaimer for speculation; at worst, it’s a cowardly way of saying, “Don’t hold me accountable for my actions.”

I believe the phrase became common when the SEC mandated disclaimers when public companies issue estimates for potential investors. From an outsider’s perspective, public companies issues estimates and then have to explicitly say those are estimates. A similarly hollow phrase is “past performance is not a predictor,” but any serious investor studies a company’s history, among numerous factors. See, when money is involved, history is important, you learn important lessons.

Philippians 3:13 (NIV) says, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” Please understand the difference in saying, “look forward.” Paul has already reckoned with his sin, so he has a clear conscience with God. Paul is also addressing the criticisms, that he had such a sinful past, by ignoring detractors and choosing to do what is right. We should do the same – reckon with our sins, learn from history, then we can move forward with God.