Why Remember What God Has Already Forgotten?
Do you remember who you were before Christ (BC)? God knows I do. I’ve done some things I’m outright ashamed of. Things I don’t want anyone to know. Things no one knows that are going with me to my grave. They are that bad. At times, I can’t believe I did them. It’s almost like I’m reading someone else’s story. I’m embarrassed of who I was; things I liked and disliked; things I found fun. Looking back it breaks my heart. I know it broke Jesus’ heart when He always wanted better for me.
Throughout our lives we encounter people who knew us then and who knows us now. Some can see change within us and celebrate with us that our lives are now different. Yet others see this change and wants to remind us of who we were. Even worse, sometimes we can’t move forward from who we were as a result. Admittedly, what others are reminding us of may be all true. But it’s no longer who we are.
When we desire change and realize we’ve been living in error, we must first repent to God. We are sorry for what we’ve done. We know we can’t possibly be intimate with Someone we haven’t been honest with. We want to wipe the slate clean. We want to put our past behind us. We come before Him broken because we need mending. We need His help to do right. We need His help to live for Him. We recognize this is why Jesus died so we don’t have to be slaves to sin. We can live forgiven.
Whose responsibility is it to forgive? Do we forgive ourselves? The Bible says He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us when we repent of our sin (I John 1:9). Our role is to accept His forgiveness. Many get stuck trying to forgive themselves. When we sincerely repent (with every intention to change our behavior), we have to trust we are forgiven. We must walk in this. Live in this. Believe this. Not because we read it or even because we feel it, but because we know it in our hearts.
Satan wants us to be stagnant; unable to move forward. He wants us to be powerless. He wants us to whimper when others remind us of our mess. We can boldly proclaim we were a mess! What you’re saying is a true story. But it’s not the end of my story! Our stories don’t end there. There will be times when you mess up IN Christ. I feel awful when I succumb to the enemy’s temptations. But sometimes I do. Sometimes I still mess up. I don’t have it all together. My heart breaks when I break His. But I still have to get up after I’ve fallen. I must go to the One who can help me. I must repent again. and. again. He promises in Isaiah 43:25 to blot out my sins and to forget them. If he forgets them after I repent, why do I still hold onto them? The opinions of others don’t matter. What matters is what He says only. Repeat that to yourself as often as necessary. Say it until it goes deep into the recesses of your heart. When you know true repentance has taken place with godly sorrow, don’t allow anyone to hold your past over you. Don’t do it to yourself. Your sins are blotted out and He remembers them no more. What a great word to stand on!
Stop trying to forgive yourself. Instead, accept His forgiveness. You may remember everything you’ve done. Paul did as he identified himself as a chief sinner (I Timothy 1:15). Get your sins dealt with the right way. Go to Jesus, who loves and welcomes you into an intimate relationship with Him. Nothing you could have done could cause Him to love you any less! We are imperfect, but are being perfected in Him. His mercies are new every morning; they never come to an end (Lamentations 3:22-23). This is something to shout about! He loves you with an everlasting love. We miss out on so much of what He has for us when we believe the lies of the enemy. We negate Jesus’ death on the cross when we don’t see His finished work as complete. It is finished! He wants us to live in the reality of this truth. His truth lived out loud for others to see. Unashamed. Live in freedom. Live forgiven. Live loved.