Compassion and Forgiveness

I was once privileged to hear a talk entitled ‘Healing of the Memories’. It was a long time ago, and at the time the wise words spoken – God given to a Ribble Valley vicar’s wife – had a big impact on me. The onset of pre-senility somewhat prevents actual re-call of what was said! However, the notion of a need for memory healing, probably for all of us, is still quite fixed in my mind.

As Christians, we know that each day is God-given – and we know that God holds all our future days in His hand. We are also aware that God knows all there is to know about our past. God knows all about those really tough times. He knows about our bereavements, our illnesses, our money problems, our disappointments, our contact with divorce, or alcoholism, or domestic violence. He knows about the times we’ve been let down or hurt by others. He knows about the worries we have with our children (small or grown up!). He knows about the issues around our caring for elderly, frail parents.

We need to live in the day, of course, and we do ‘move-on’ from bad times. However, I feel that sometimes the pains of the past can mar our present. This indeed was the basic theme of the ‘Healing of the Memories’ talk. All the events of our yesterdays have to a variable effect affected how we are today.

Are such legacies unavoidable? Do they matter? How can we rid ourselves of any bitterness, anger or pain from the yoke of the past? It is perhaps pertinent to accept that even Jesus cannot change the past in anyway. However, and equally pertinent is the absolute fact that He can heal our hearts and minds of the residually heavy burden we may be carrying. Not only that, by drawing closer to Jesus we can perhaps begin to see a benefit or a blessing from our days of trouble. This is nothing that happens to us in this life that cannot in some way; however small or obscure; be a blessing to others or ourselves in terms of spiritual awareness and understanding. The Good Book tells us that all things work together for good, for those who love the Lord.

Many times in my own life very unexpected and tough things have occurred. And no, I haven’t at the time gone around clapping my hands and praising the Lord! However, quite often sometime late I’ve been able to see a blessing or a least to see that ‘Yes’ the Lord was present in the midst of it all. This is even despite me probably having a ‘woe is me’ job-type attitude at the actual time! I’m only human!

Yes, of course I’m ‘only’ human – but just like you, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. So yes, our Father God longs for us to have peace about the things of our past. So if you are having a little think about past hurts and troubles, then maybe a deep and honest prayer before your Maker will help you to heal the past and to move on in a new and healthier way. Jesus himself told us that He came to enable us to have ‘life in all its fullness’. Yes, we can remember, treasure and lean from the past – but above all with our Lord’s help we can be rid of its pains and we can have peace.

And now, briefly to forgiveness, Mark Twain said, “Forgiveness is the sweet fragrance which the violet gives to the heel which crushes it. Yes, if we can have an unresolved, unforgiving attitude towards someone in our past – we can, and must allow our God to heal and cleanse us from that.

Sorry if all this seems a bit of a ‘waffle’. I just know that I’ve personally carried hurts etc. into my todays and my tomorrows. I’m very must a ‘work in progress!’ Yet bit by bit, Jesus has healed me and released me. I have, as in the hymn, found that I’ve often forfeited peace because I didn’t ‘carry everything to God in prayer.’ In conclusion, I would like to urge anyone for whom this has a resonance to just lay themselves before God’s mighty and compassionate throne. Believe me, He won’t let you down! And, you will feel so much lighter – but better than going to Weight Watchers!

Linda

 

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