Our capacity for memory is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? In the 3 pounds of tissue and chemicals within our skull are beautiful images, great music, mental videos of happy family times, and the skills we need to earn a living.
Alas, we remember our failures too. Not only do I need God to forget about them, I want to forget about them. What do you do when those old shameful words and actions keep coming back to haunt you? Do what St. Paul did. Although he had a terrible vault of violent and ungodly acts in his past, he found comfort in the free and full forgiveness of Jesus Christ, who takes our sins away as far as east is from west: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief” (1 Timothy 1:12,13).
It may be that God allows us to remember our rebellious and evil deeds of the past to keep us humble . . . to remind us that we are saved by God’s grace, not our works . . . to keep a judgmental spirit from arising in our minds . . . to keep our voices and hearts soft as we deal with the other fools and sinners around us.
Look ahead. The pain will be gone in heaven.