The past cannot be changed. What a heavy burden on all fools and sinners! Our misdeeds, our failings, our thefts and lies and moral collapses and cheating and acts of cruelty are all frozen in time, untouchable and unchangeable. We have to live with our memories, see the faces of the people we’ve hurt, and live with painful consequences, including loss of reputation.
That’s worse than losing money, because it’s so much harder to rebuild. Trust takes a long time to build but can be squandered in five minutes. The disciple Peter had heard Jesus’ prediction that he would deny him three times. He loudly protested that he would never be ashamed of his Lord. That boastful claim did not even survive its first test. As predicted, he failed three times: “‘Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!’ Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:60-62).
For the rest of his life, painful memories of that failure would have kept Peter humble. But the fact that the past can’t be changed is also a great thing. Jesus’ bloody payment for your sins is permanent. Jesus’ resurrection can’t be altered. Your baptism’s washing can’t be stolen from you.
Since your past cannot condemn you, you are freed to create a new narrative today.