May 10, 2021

There Is Freedom From Your Past


Too many people who have had a wrong done to them have “built a memorial to the event and placed it smack dab in the center of the living room of their life, going there every day to worship”–so says a minister.[1] A memorial to a wrong done in the past! I had never thought of it that way, but I think he’s right.

A man came to my husband for counsel, bringing with him a file about three inches thick. Years ago someone had wronged him, and ever since he had been collecting evidence of the injustice that was done. No wonder he had no peace. I’m sure that every day he visited the “memorial” he had built to this hurtful event.

Memory can be a tremendous blessing as we recall happy days from the past—the day they called you to the front of the room to receive that special award, or possibly the day you finally, finally graduated from college. Or perhaps the glorious joy you felt when you looked into the face of your firstborn child.

But memory can also be tremendously painful. What is it about the human mind that we tend to pull up hurtful events from the past and relive them over and over and over again? When we do this we are not survivors but perpetual victims.

It’s time to break down that monument you’ve erected to your painful past.  I know you cannot erase it from your memory.  But you can refuse to make it a worship center in your life.  Instead, each time that memory comes to mind, bring it to the Lord in prayer. God doesn’t mind if you do.  In fact, He says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past” (Isaiah 43:18).

Today is the only day we really have. Yesterday is gone, and whether we ever have a tomorrow is unknown.  Let’s honor today by leaving the past with God.

[1] Quoted by Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Rabbi Stewart Vogel, The Ten Commandments (New York, NY: Cliff Street Books, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, 1998), 44.