“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” – Psalm 139:23- 24 (NIV)
Have you heard of something called selective memories? This is a condition where a person chooses to remember only those good things in the past while blocking out the nasty bits of life. I have a friend whose father was assassinated by Idi Amin’s soldiers. He has told me that life is far better than dwelling on this tragedy.
Actually selective memory can be a powerful coping weapon against trauma. By blocking out of the mind the past terror the victim chooses to focus on the brighter aspects of life. This is positive living.
But then also selective memory can become problematic when one decides to wash over the past as irrelevant. There are moments where we need to sit down and evaluate the past. A nation that does not evaluate its history has always the danger of plunging back into its tragic past. Likewise a life that never examines its past including those sour moments risks never growing.
The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence” (Isaiah 43:26). Earlier he had pointed out though not to dwell on the past, “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past” (verse 18). This is a delicate balance we need all to strike. The past is instructive for us to evaluate ourselves and learn such that we do better. However, we shouldn’t become a captive of the past!
Prayer for today: Lord Father in heaven, today in the precious name of Jesus I pray for wisdom to learn from my past as I look forward to a bright future in you!