by David Sisler
Could you understand a man who said, "My yesterdays are always paralyzing my todays?"
The man explained, "I believe that Jesus is who He claims to be. I believe that He has done what He claims to have done. I believe that by His death and faith in Him, my sins are forgiven. But my past. I cannot forget my past."
And then he began to recite the mistakes of almost 40 years.
A man walked into a bookstore and asked, "Do you have a book on forgetfulness?"
The clerk thought for a moment and took the customer to a section of books on memory. "With these books," she said, "you can remember names, numbers, and addresses. You can develop almost instant recall."
The customer said, "You misunderstood me. I want a book on how to forget."
The clerk took down a large volume that lists every book published and still in print in the United States and searched through it. Finally she said, "Sir, we do not have a book on how to forget."
"Yes, you do," replied the customer, "but only one." And he took her to the religion section and placed a Bible in her hand.
The expression "born with a silver spoon in his mouth" means that an individual was born into a family with great wealth, position and many opportunities. The history of his family has automatically opened doors for that person to be successful.
The Apostle Paul was such a person. He was a Jew, but he also possessed Roman citizenship. He was fluent in at least two languages. As a Pharisee, he held a high position in his religion. He had a private tutor, Gamaliel, who is still held in high regard in Jewish circles today.
Analyzing his silver spoon one day he said, "At one time all those things were important to me. But now I think they are worth nothing because of Jesus Christ. Because of Him, I now know that all those things are worthless trash."
Then Paul said, "Forgetting the past, I leave it behind me and with my hands outstretched, I go straight for the goal to get my prize. That prize is mine because God called me through Jesus to life in Him."
You were an alcoholic. You repented of your sins, gave your life to Jesus and have been sober for 10 years. Are you supposed to drag up your past and mourn over the wasted years?
You were a thief. You stole from the company where you worked. But 15 years ago you gave your life to God. Since then you've been honest. You've forsaken your sin. Are you supposed to bring it up the past and grieve as though you were still a practicing thief?
You were unfaithful to your husband one time and it was 20 years ago. God forgave you and you have been faithful ever since. Are you supposed to concentrate on your unfaithfulness and let it paralyze your consistency?
"Well," you say, "doesn't God remember?" Not if you have asked Him to forgive you. The man who said, "My yesterdays are always paralyzing my todays" was remembering what God wanted him to forget. We forget that God has the capacity to not remember.
We have a forgetful God. We have His own word that He is forgetful. God said, "I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions, and will not remember thy sins. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more."
When you think about the dishonesty, the impurity, the ugly things in your past, God says, "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, just, pure, lovely, whatsoever things are of good report--think on these things."
We are all interested in developing our memories. What we should be developing is our forgetfulness. The past? Has God forgiven it? Then by His grace, forget it, and press on to the prize of new life in His Son.
Published in the Augusta Chronicle 2/5/94
Copyright 1994 by David Sisler
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