Proverbs 10:7 We have happy memories of the godly, but the name of a wicked person rots away.
Ecclesiastes 7:10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions. I once wrote, and I still believe, “The only good thing about the good old days is that they are gone,” especially when the old days are the only thing a person thinks about. People can become so trapped in the past that they no longer try to live today.
It is much easier to deal with memories that are pleasant and joyful because they sometimes encourage us to believe in an optimistic future. Good memories are helpful as they can inspire us to realize that things can get better. It is a harder journey for a lot of people to deal with and try to manage the hurts that horrific memories bring back in living colour. The relenting torment of these aching recollections will keep people from advancing beyond their ever-present thoughts of how they were poorly treated. Continually thinking about the old hurts, and rehashing the events that created the dysfunction in their present lives, will have an unnatural control of their mind and will give no room for peace to be found.
The difficulty of being reconciled with our painful history can be overwhelming for some people and a never-ending torment for others. We are now seeing how the memories of the First Nation’s children who were forced to attend residential schools are still feeling the repercussions they suffered. Those children are now elderly people who are still hurting. The effects on these people and their culture have got to be reconciled or the pain will continue to be a generational curse. The brutality and shaming practices that were allowed to be used upon these children at the time, were inhumane, and cruel. Yet, these people were expected to live inspired lives and function normally once returned to their homes. How could they not become maladaptive in their plight to function when they had so many questions that needed answers as to why they had been treated like a burden society had to rid themselves of.
The anguish that is suffered within the souls and spirits of anyone who has memories of being brutalized makes it hard for them to even believe there is healing for better things. Healing in the spirit is also needed as much as healing within the soul. Ex.6:9 So Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage. Depressive and painful memories will keep many wallowing in hurtful reminiscence while keeping them stagnant from moving ahead. We have no choice but to reconcile with our hurtful past because if we do not face that pain with God’s healing power, that dark shadow will negatively control our thoughts causing a repeat performance within the next generation.
Breaking this bondage will take the light of God that can stab any darkness and rip apart the gloom that has enveloped a heart and mind. However, we have to want that healing with all of our hearts. God’s righteous fire burns everything and that includes the injustices we have suffered throughout our lives. I, for one, have had to forgive the events of my childhood to be able to live a healthy and meaningful life today. I had to forgive the brutality and abuse that my father dispensed on my mother, siblings, and myself. I have written extensively on the subject of my father’s inability to have loved, nurtured, and protected his family. We cannot go back and fix the problem at the point where the torture took place, but with the Lord’s forgiving grace we can be healed from the point where we choose to forgive. Matt. 6:14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
The problem for many who continue choosing the companion of old shadows that darken the present noonday brightness is that they will rewrite scenarios in their minds and will end up with a patchwork of selective memories that are distorting the real events that took place. The children of Israel had been set free by God but in their hearts, they were still slaves to their past. Num. 11:5 We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna! The manna was the healing bread that the Lord had provided each day for the collective healing of a nation. Yes, it was a daily food provision, but the morning reminder as the manna was gathered demonstrated that God their provider could meet anything needed to live in wholeness. However, as is today, if we do not accept God’s healing and step into His redemptive health plan with an honest heart the result will be as it was with the children of Israel – an insipid idea of existence.
The choice is ours. We can either swim and bathe in the anointed love of God’s present affection that will eventually heal all pain and hurts. Or, we can drown in the infectious waters of hurtful memories that move like the creatures in nightmares coming from beneath ready to bring us into a hell of loneliness. The Lord’s salvation is too precious a gift to be ignored as the way back from our painful past. If we hand over one hurt after another until the healing balm of Christ’s sacrifice makes us whole, we will eventually be healed. There are enough people in this world living with a shadow-sickness that gets darker as the days go by. We who are in Christ can live in the light of God’s healing. Ex. 15:26b For I am the LORD who heals you. We just have to want it. In Jesus name, Lord God, help us call on Your name for the grace needed to choose life. Amen!