The prisoner of the past is bound by bitterness. He focuses his hate on the one who hurt him. He thinks often about the scenes of the past where he was done wrong. He is bound by chains that you cannot see. He is bound to his own past. He adamantly refuses to forgive that person who ruined his life.
The prisoner of the past often feels the pain today, as if it happened all over again. Why did it happen to me? It's not fair the way I was treated. Those thoughts and many others that torment him will not go away. The worse thing that happened to him has become the defining point in his life. He cannot get past it. His bitterness only grows as the days go by.
Only to make things worse, someone tells him, "You must learn to forgive." He lashes back, saying, "That's easy for you to say, because you don't understand how it feels." His emotions change from anger to bitterness and then to depression. He thinks no one understands him. His whole life has become a prison to the past.
Jesus speaks to the prisoner of the past, saying, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you" (Matthew 6:14). The prisoner's eyes of understanding are opened. He can be free by forgiving the one who hurt him. It's a choice of his will. It's the sure way out of the prison. It won't be easy to forgive, but it will be harder not to forgive. He knows that it's God's will for him to forgive. He learned the power of forgiveness.