“Forgetting what lies behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
As life moves on we accumulate memories. They are defining of who we are. Some memories remain with us like cherished friends, giving comfort, encouragement and filling the present with an ongoing sense of fulfillment.
Others may haunt us and tinge our lives with sadness, melancholy and guilt. Of these some are rooted in troublesome or tragic events that were beyond our control. A natural disaster struck. The stock market plunged and assets were wiped out. A medical condition fundamentally alters the course of life. Events like these may leave us reeling in an effort to regain our balance but we feel no remorse. We did not cause them.
Some memories are of wrongs done to you by others. Someone you once loved rejected you for another. A business associate cheated you out of money. Someone close to you violated a confidence. Rising above the resulting bitterness or anger may be diffcult but the fault, in the end, is not yours.
But then there are the memories that haunt you. Try as you will they will not be put to rest. You may go months, even years, without giving them much thought. But sooner or later they creep in to your consciousness. These are the memories of the wrongs you have done. They demand you deal with them. They are on your hands.
We have all left a debris field of wrongs in the wake of our lives. And try as we might, we will never clear the wreckage of our past, however great or small. These deeds, done or things left undone, follow us and accuse us. They are the evidence life uses against us. What will we do?
St. Paul urges us to forget it all. But, you may object, surely this is too simplistic. Paul was obviously no psychologist! Memories are not that easy to put away. This is true. Our memories, all our memories, will remain with us to one degree or another through life. But Paul dares to invite us to forget because those haunting memories now belong to Christ Jesus. He paid for them on His cross.
Giving your sins to Christ Jesus will not remove the scars. To one degree or another you will live with them until you die. But the open wounds of guilt and remorse will be closed and healed. This is power of the Lord’s forgiveness. For once Christ Jesus took your sins upon Himself He stripped them of all the accusation they contained. It is as if those things of which you are ashamed never happened. Now you are free – free to bask in the good memories of your past even as you press on toward the glorious future God has prepared for His people.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep you hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”