“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12 NIV
Dementia is an awful condition to watch someone go through. I’ve seen someone with a very sharp mind get to the point where she can’t tell you what she just finished eating as she looks at the empty plate in front of her. She often says the same thing or asks the same question over and over in a short amount of time. She’s lost the freedom to drive or cook the wonderful dishes she was known for. She doesn’t remember who she has talked to or what was said within a few minutes of the person leaving. So many things that she could once do, she can no longer do. Every now and then, when she realizes that she can’t think clearly, she breaks down crying. It’s heart breaking.
Forgetfulness is awful at times but can also be a good thing. Many times when I am struggling with depression, it is the negative memories I find myself dwelling on. I recall all of the things I failed to do right. I remember all of the things I did wrong. I focus on all of the bad and stop remembering the good. Satan knows if he can keep our thoughts on things other than the glory of God, we can and will be an ineffective witnesses for Christ. God knows that, too. That is why we are told in His word to forget the past when it comes to our sinfulness and shortcomings.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV
Not only does God instruct us to forget our sinful past, He says He will forget our sins, as well.
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Isaiah 43:25 NIV
If God, Himself, says that He will forgive and forget my sins when I come to Him in repentance, who do I think I am to keep bringing it up?
The Apostle Paul was a great Christian.. But even he said he often found himself doing the things he did not want to do, and not doing the very things he did want to do. He also said to forget the past and to focus on moving forward.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is 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.” Philippians 3:12-14 NIV
I believe when it comes to our past mistakes, the best thing we can do is to have spiritual dementia. We need to realize that the forgiveness of God will release us not just from the sin, but from the guilt and condemnation we try to hold onto. We need to allow God to restore us to Himself. And through justification (just as if I had never sinned), we can look forward to the future of living for Him by allowing Him to live within us and through us. Don’t just let go of the sinful past – forget about it.
Heavenly Father, Thank you for sending Your Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. Thank You for saving me and forgiving me for my sins. Too often, Lord, I have allowed negative memories of my past to keep me from fully serving You in the present. Help me to understand that even as You remember my sins no more, I need to forget, too, so that I can be used by You. Thank You, Father. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.