MERCY UNDESERVED

Hard to Forget

My friends often tell me that I have a pretty good memory. I have an especially good recall when it comes to conversations with people. If I am paying attention during the conversation I can remember what we talked about, how long we talked for and where we had our conversation. Due to this quality of memory I can vividly remember some of the most embarrassing moments of my life. The time when I ripped up a girl’s party invitation in grade four because another girl that I had invited did not like her, I remember that. The time when I recited poetry to a guy in grade eight, yeah, you can bet I remember that. I can also remember the things that I have done that were meaner spirited, I can hear myself making that terrible comment behind someone’s back. I can witness myself consciously distancing myself from somebody that I should have reached out to. I can see the way that I act when I have a short temper and it’s not very nice at all, in fact, it’s terrible.

Some people have such good memories that you can give them a day and they can tell you what they had for every meal, what the weather is like and recount any interactions that they may have had on that day. Although having a memory like this seems like it would be a great thing, it can be crippling. People with memories of such high quality can also remember the emotions they felt at the time just as strongly as they were when they first felt them, making grief challenging to work through. Many people with this condition cannot live a normal life due to been haunted by these memories. They are literally crippled by the past. This condition is called Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory, people with this condition recall every detail of their lives. More than one person has experienced the negative impacts of this condition with one woman who lost her husband been able to recall every single moment of their relationship.

It is better to start each day fresh, the past can leave an unexpectedly significant burden on not just our minds but our hearts as well. You are never too far gone, there is no memory that cannot fade away and although we see our faults, God can wipe all of our iniquities and shortcomings away.

The Broadway musical smash hit Dear Evan Hansen illustrates this point nicely. The main character, Evan makes a series of monumental blunders and reaches a point where he is at the lowest of lows. There is a line that is remembered by the character at his lowest which says “when you’re broken on the ground, you will be found.” At the end of the musical, despite his many mistakes, Evan is accepted again by his family and friends. When you are at your lowest and your most desperate, that is exactly when God can show himself in a significant way.

Harder to Remember

In 2 Corinthians 5:17 it says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!” You are not your past failures or actions. When Jesus looks at us he sees a new creation, one that it worth anything to keep safe, he would be willing to do anything to maintain this safety, even death. He does not even consider our past mistakes. In Lamentations 3:22-23 it reads “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are now every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Every morning God showers us with fresh mercies. Every morning you are a new person and you are you and that is so wonderful that you get to be you, a child of God.

So be forgiving to yourself. If you are truly repentant and regret your actions it is time to move on. Do not let your brain torture itself. Let God be your strength and shield and give your burdens to him for it is through him for in Isaiah 40:31 it says that “those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Through God we can be free of the past, God has set us all free and so we are consequently “free indeed” (John 8:36). God does not base his relationship with us on the past, he is the one person we can talk to who won’t. God even offers to speak and act for us if we are not confident in our abilities. In Exodus 4:12 it says “Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak”, this is God speaking to Moses offering to compensate for his fear of public speaking. When we turn to God we do not have to worry about our own actions or about the events of yesterday or even tomorrow, all we have to do is believe in him.

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