“The Lord says, “Forget what happened before, and do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it? I will make a road in the desert and rivers in the dry land.” Isaiah 43:18 – 19 (NCV)
I forgive easily; myself and others. However, lately God has whispered, “just forgiving is not enough if I want to flourish in every area of my life.” If I want to see the new thing He is going to do, I must allow Him to make rivers in all my dry places. So, a few days ago while reading inspirational material and scriptures, searching for solace, this idea of having a desire to forget touched me in a deep place. It touched me just where I needed it because it eased the anxiety and gave me a peaceful release.
You see, for me forgetting the incident that drove me to forgive is not easy. I think I have forgotten; but the incidents pop up at the weirdest times. Times when I say, “Dang, where did that come from? I thought I had forgotten all about that.” Or, “My goodness that happened years ago, why am I thinking about it now.” This is especially true when the incident carries feelings of hurt, pain and regret that make me want to strike out at the person who caused the grief or that make me want to beat up on myself for not handling things differently.
My problem is I treat forgiving as being the same as forgetting. After all, the Bible says, we must forgive seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22). However, I didn’t remember reading much about forgetting. So, I did what I normally try to do when I am stumped. I said, “God, guide me to a scripture that talks about forgetting.” Well, yesterday, during my morning devotional time, this scripture, Isaiah 43:18-19 came up. All I could say was, “WOW, God, thank You!”
So, this new year, I am aiming “To forget as well as to forgive.” It won’t be easy; but I must try. I may slip and slide a bit; but with God’s help, I will get better and better. Forgiving, but not forgetting causes burdens I can’t afford to carry. The fears, failures, hurt feelings, frustrations, regrets, irritations from the past are heavy weights that slow me down, drain me and take up precious space that needs to be filled with more joy, gratitude and love. Forgetting incidents from the past that no longer serve me, lighten my spirit. It makes room for God’s blessings. When I hang on to the past and find myself in a similar situation, I tend to believe that the same thing will happen again. But, releasing the past gives me hope that this time it will be different. This feeling of hope makes me feel good. Once I change my attitude on the inside, everything on the outside seems to fall into place in a new way.
Forgetting as well as forgiving allows the rivers of hope, faith, joy, peace fill those dry, painful places. Please join me this year. If, like me, you find yourself dwelling on past incidents that hurt, ask for God’s help in releasing them. Together, we can allow God’s healing balm to lighten our load and thrust us into the new thing He has for us.
God, I am willing to forget painful memories. Help me remember I can’t afford to bring up the past because it blocks the good you have for me now. Thank You, God! Amen!