I beat myself up.
Despite the countless blessings present in my life, I often run a highlight reel of every bad decision, costly mistake and shameful act I’ve ever done. With the sound of the spinning film reel slapping against the projector of my mind, a blanket of melancholy drapes over my thinking. A gathering of painful sentences bundled themselves in my spirit, attempting to make it as cold as they were:
You had everything going for you, but not anymore.
Everything that has happened to you is your fault.
Even when you were done wrong, it was only a response to something YOU did.
Do you know how bad you’ve messed up your life?
You are going to be alone for the rest of your life.
You don’t deserve to be happy.
When you repent and ask for forgiveness, God forgives and forgets (Micah 7:19). Being in His image, we must also forgive ourselves and forget. More importantly, we must move forward towards better decisions, prayer and lifestyle after we’ve been forgiven.
I’ve heard so many people say “I’ll forgive, but I will never forget!” and I believe that’s because most people think that forgetting means pretending it never happened (and therefore susceptible to the same mistake). I believe forgetting and remembering are not functions of how we manage situations in our lives, but WHERE we store them.
Our brain stores things in different places and when you “remember” things – you call them to the forefront of your mind. You make the memory fresh to where you can still smell the air from that first hug or you can smell the greens from your grandmother’s kitchen. When you forget, you store it in the furthest recesses of your mind because there’s no use for it. We can’t help but have it in our mind because our brains retain way more than we think it does. But when you forget the wrongs that you’ve done or had done to you – you are making a conscious decision to not keep those horrid thoughts in the forefront.
God not only forgets – if we truly repent and dedicate our lives to Him, God will forget, restore and empower you to forgive yourself, others and be an example to your friends and loved ones.
You may think, “well, I don’t wanna be a fool and let someone take advantage of me!” or “I can forgive but I can’t trust him/her again!” To that I say, if you’re seeking God – He will give you discernment as well as a layer of protection so you know who should get close to you again. Blocking everyone out so you’re never hurt again is not discernment; in fact, you’re blocking a potential blessing. The closer you walk with God, the clearer things become. The chaos and craziness of this world still goes on but the way you react changes. It is this “peace that passes all understanding” that will cause you to bounce back from those less-than-pleasant situations.
God will never throw what you did/didn’t do in your face because He’s forgotten. So when you feel the heat of the breath of the “accuser” on your neck – you know exactly who it is where he should go.
We have to forgive. Starting with ourselves. I’ll be honest and say that these words convict me first because I am having a hard time forgiving and forgetting. It is hard and, in the natural, it can seem impossible. That’s where God comes in. He knows our pain…my pain is something that my body, mind and spirit aren’t equipped to manage – which is why I must cast my cares on him. I need to forgive and forget so that He may restore and empower.
My prayer tonight is that God strengthens us to forgive and truly forget. It doesn’t mean we pretend they didn’t hurt us or we act like we didn’t do it. I want God to give us the power to do better, live better and store those bad thoughts and memories in the far recesses of our mind while saving the forefront for praise, worship, encouragement and peace.
I’m praying he causes our lives to bounce back from the things that seek to hold us down. Because when we bounce, we fly.