In my preface post, I mentioned that our problem with memory is twofold: First, we tend to forget things we’re supposed to remember. Second, is that we often tend to remember things which we’re supposed to forget. An acute memory is a double-edged sword in the sense that very often our minds will latch onto old hurts and failures which are better left forgotten.
The bible has much to say on the subject of forgetfulness. Admittedly it’s not as popular of a subject as remembrance (there are only 64 instances of the word “forget”), nevertheless, it’s a skill that we’re still commanded to practice.
16 This is what the Lord says--
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters,
17 who drew out the chariots and horses,
the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
20 The wild animals honor me,
the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
21 the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise.
Your past does not define your future. Before you can embrace the new work God is doing, you first have to acknowledge that the past is over. One great way to start a new chapter in your life is to get baptized. Many of us have undergone this ritual before as a public declaration of faith, however some of us (myself sadly among them) have made may unfortunate decisions and had several personal setbacks since then. I would challenge you that, if you can’t clearly recall the day of your baptism, you should consider going under the water again. Getting re-baptized is not a magical act, and doing so will not make you “more righteous” that you were before it happened. What baptism really is is a way of driving a stake in the ground, and leaving a line in the sand. It gives you a moment you can always look back to and remember that you’re now a new creation in Christ, and everything that took place before then has been crucified with Christ.
When I first started dating my girlfriend, I would always wake up in the morning and read my devotional, then text her the verse and a short explanation. It was my early attempt at being the spiritual leader of our relationship. Looking back now, I find it quite fortuitous that the very first verse I sent her the morning after we made it “official” was this:
My challenge to you today is this: Forget the Former Things. God plans to do something unprecedented in your life during this year. Are you ready for it? Get ready, both by remembering where you came from, and by forgetting where you’ve fallen. Embrace newness.