Our memories are one of the greatest blessings from our Creator. It is a tremendous blessing to learn many beautiful things and store that information into our memories. It is a miracle to recall most of this information in perfect sequential order for the remainder of our lives. God has also given us the unique ability to memorize vast amounts of information to perform our jobs, to create, and to remember various tasks that are essential for our survival. Memories are also important for our social interactions with others and for building personal relationships. We were given commandments to memorize for the building of a community with others and a proper relationship with our God. We were given memories to cherish all that our Creator has done for us in the past and all that He plans to do for us in the future. Without memories, we would be lost in a cave of despair and robbed of the very essence of what life means. Without memories, we could never cherish the many good memories from times past. Without memories, we would grow stagnant, unable to learn, and retain needed information from our Creator. Without memories, it would only be a tragic existence forgetting immediately the wonderful joy and peace just encountered. How heartbreaking to have no memory of a loving relationship.
Yes, memories are a beautiful part of life. While some can cherish beautiful memories, many others in the world are inundated with painful memories. Their painful memories or bad memories can cause a multitude of problems. These memories can surface at any time for no apparent reason. We have all experienced these sudden reoccurrences even if they only lasted a short duration. If these reoccurring memories are not dealt with properly then they can cause devastating problems that will affect people for the rest of their lives. The most common memory to hold onto for many years or the rest of your life is the memory of being hurt. The hurt from others can take on many different sizes and shapes where a seemingly small hurt or crisis can be overwhelmingly difficult to bear. This hurt from others could be a misinterpreted glance from another or it could be the horrible pain of being physically or psychologically abused. Either way, the pain is real and gets tremendously worse if it’s digested and agonized over for any length of time. The longer it’s agonized over, the greater the pain increases. The sooner this bad memory is dealt with the quicker an individual will be on the road to recovery.
There is another common bad or painful memory that must be dealt with immediately. This memory is similar to the one that we just discussed, except this hurt does not come from another person. The hurt comes from yourself. Yes, humans are quite capable of hurting themselves, thus creating a lasting memory. This too comes in various sizes and shapes. It could be something as small as making an innocent mistake while speaking to others or it could be falling in with the wrong crowd and doing horrible things that are difficult to imagine. Believe me, there are many different ways that a person can seemingly hurt themselves. No matter how large or how small, if the bad memories are not dealt with properly, then there could be devastating problems. Just as before, the sooner this bad memory is dealt with the quicker the individual will be on the road to recovery. Before we look at the biblical solution to these multiple problems relating to our memory, let me say a word about what will not help. Group therapy of calling out your hurtful or bad memories multiple times to others will only exasperate the problem making it far worse by giving you the liberty to keep bringing it up to your mind again and again.
Clearly, unforgiveness is the problem that’s creating all of these bad memories. The good news is there is a biblical solution for unforgiveness. Although forgiving and forgetting is probably one of the most difficult things for humanity to do, it is not impossible. God has given His children both the ability and the motivation to forgive. Furthermore, as we shall see, truly forgiving will also lead to forgetting the hurt caused by yourself or others. So, what is our motivation to forgive? The Bible says, “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15). This is tremendous motivation because the unforgiven will be cut off from all of God’s blessings and His protection until they have truly forgiven others. On the other hand, if we truly forgive by following the biblical principles below, then we will continue to receive all the blessings needed to overcome the hurt caused by others or the hurt caused by ourselves. Now let’s look at the three principles of forgiveness, which will help us to forget the hurt. Dear friends, to truly forgive is to forget, allowing it to completely disappear from our memories.
So, let’s now look at the three principles of forgiveness if you truly want to forgive and forget the hurt. The first principle of forgiveness is to never bring the hurt or trespass up again to the offending party, which always keeps the trespass alive and well. We have the same tendency to bring up the past to ourselves when we have acted foolishly by beating ourselves up, allowing unforgiveness to flourish. The second principle of forgiveness is to never share the trespass with others (unless you’re in danger). Most everyone wants sympathy from others when they have been mistreated or wronged in some way. It’s part of our human nature. So, to truly forgive another we must not pass it around to others, which keeps the offense alive. The final, and most difficult principle is to not dwell on being hurt by others or by yourself. We must immediately cast it out – stop thinking about it. Although this third principle may seem impossible because the hurt keeps coming back again and again, it’s not, if we truly forgive and trust God’s loving providence to render the appropriate judgment leaving it completely in His hands. Following these three principles of forgiveness will truly help us to forgive and forget the hurt caused by others or by ourselves, following the Lord’s own example, who in Jeremiah 31:34 says, “For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” There is great power in forgiveness to bring total healing to our memories. Let me stress going forward, that the moment that you are hurt by others or by yourself, then you must forgive immediately seventy times seven, an infinite number of times (Matthew 18:21-22).
There is one more bad memory that people dwell on that is paralyzing a large part of humanity. This memory is not caused by others or even by oneself. This bad memory is typically caused by unforeseen circumstances totally outside of their control. Unfortunately, these bad memories will grow worse as we fast approach the end. These bad memories are caused by the effects of war, a poor economy, Global Warming, diseases, and pandemics. These bad memories will become so bad among the general population that it will cause many to lash out in unchecked lawlessness, commit suicide, or attempt to withdraw from reality altogether in some kind of Metaverse. This most devastating effect on the mental or psychological well-being of humanity is the constant recall of bad memories, dwelling on the memory for hours, days, and even years. I could simply tell the one constantly entertaining the bad memory to simply stop and cast it out, but it’s not that simple. We must do more. We must learn to trust in God’s loving providence. Trusting in God’s loving providence believes that He does nothing by accident, nor does He allow anything to happen without a path of escape, the wisdom, and power to overcome, or a valuable lesson that must be learned for our continued spiritual growth. Furthermore, if we had eyes to see we can often witness the miracle of God turning something bad into something amazingly good, truly a good memory to be cherished. Let’s learn to trust in God’s loving providence.
Oh, what joy it is to be finally set free from the bondage of our past mistakes or from being hurt by others. Yes, we have all been hurt by unforeseen circumstances, by others, or even by ourselves. Thank God, we have learned the power of true forgiveness that leads to total forgetfulness. Thank God we have learned how to trust in God’s loving providence. We have learned to cherish only good memories. Once the bad memories are gone through forgiveness and trust in God it’s like putting on the wings of eagles and flying to the utmost heights of heavenly bliss. It’s never too late to forgive and forget. For those who are not in Christ, it will be a most difficult journey, so I implore you to ask Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins and make you into a new creation, where old things, painful memories, will truly pass away (II Corinthians 5:17). As a new person in Christ who is no longer burdened by the past, then you are free to add to your memories some of the greatest miracles this side of heaven. There is not a day that goes by when we don’t recognize the beauty and grandeur of our new life in Christ. Every day is another miracle full of abounding joy and a peace that truly defies understanding. Every day is feeling the warmth of His love enveloping us like a warm blanket on a cold night. Every day we learn how to quickly forgive and how to love others as Christ has loved us. We have learned how to trust in His loving providence and cherish only good memories. All glory to God.
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