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Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Past in My Rear-View Mirror

From Windows of the Soul: Experiencing God in New Ways by Ken Gire, page 132- 

No matter how fast we drive or how far away, we can never escape our past. Even though it is behind us, it is always in our rear-view mirror. And though it seems that the images of our past should grow smaller, the irony is that the farther down life's highway we travel, the closer they sometimes appear...

Of those memories, none is more powerful than memories of home. We may leave home, but home never really leaves us. Deep inside all of us is something that draws us back. The reasons are as many as our memories...

Maybe the reason we are drawn back home is a longing to understand what influences shaped us...

Or maybe we are drawn there because we long to experience what we can of the past while there's still time to do it...

Maybe we're drawn back there to see it all for what it all really was--a gift...

Or maybe the reason we are drawn home is that there's unfinished business back there, something that's come to our attention in such a way that we can no longer look away. Maybe that unfinished business is a wound that needs healing or a wound we've inflicted on someone else that only we can heal...

Maybe there is something we need to understand that perhaps all of our life we have misunderstood. Or maybe there is something about us someone else needs to understand. Whatever the reason, memories draw us home with gravitational force. It's a force we can resist, but only at the expense of our soul.

The older I get, the larger those things in the rear-view mirror appear...

Jean says:

I'm not totally clear as to why You told me to stop here and post this section, Lord. I have lots of memories of my childhood. But the older I get the more I realize that there is so much more about my childhood that I DON'T remember.

I'm not sure whether that's because I want to forget it, or because it is too painful to remember, or because I've been too busy building new memories for most of my adulthood to bother about memories of childhood. I'm just not sure.

I do know, however, that there are things I've chosen to remember, then chosen to forgive, then chosen to forget. And I realize that I could not do that in my own power. That lovely ability to choose to forget is a gift from You, Lord. That ability to realize that we all make a mess of our lives and, sometimes, of those around us is, even when we are doing the best we know how to do, is a gift. An undeserved, unmerited gift of Your grace.

You are my Great and Loving Forgetter, Lord. When I confess my sins and my sinfulness, when I ask for Your forgiveness, You give it generously. And then, You forget it. You choose to put my disgusting sins behind You and move forward with me in this journey of grace.

You choose to forget.

Help me to remember that as I remember my past.

God says:

Do you remember this Youth For Christ chorus, Little One?

Gone, Gone, Gone, Gone,
Yes, my sins are gone.
Now my soul is free
And in my heart's a song.

Buried in the deepest sea,
Yes, that's good enough for me.
I shall live eternally.
Praise God! My sins are G-O-N-E gone.

Isn't it wonderful? Doesn't it make you feel liberated? Doesn't it lift a huge load from you to sing this little chorus? Letting go of those sins, those offenses, those painful memories liberates YOU. It lifts the burden from YOUR shoulders, not the perpetrators of whatever wrongs you've suffered. It lifts the burden YOU have been carrying.

Gone. GONE. If they are under Jesus' blood every single sin is gone. Vanished. Annihilated. Never to be dredged up again.

Lifting that burden leaves you free to float down the stream of life, instead of sinking into the mud hole of despair.

If I can forgive and forget maybe--just maybe--you can, too.