A small flame

A small flame

Redeeming Hard Memories


It has been so freeing for me to realize the truth about forgiving and forgetting:: that forgiving is a journey, and that not forgetting doesn't mean that my forgiveness is insincere. To be honest, I can't forget! Memories - moments in time, words, facial expressions - are burnt so deeply into my soul that they often appear, unbidden, in the front of my mind. They even insert themselves into my dreams.
*
*
But remembering is so painful. It could easily keep me in depressed misery! I have had to learn how to remember. How, with God's help and grace, to guide the focus of my memories so that they help with my healing instead of pulling me back into hard places.


One of the things from Forgive and Forget that has helped me immensely is the concept of 'redemptive remembering'.

" There is a healing way to remember the wrongs of our irreversible past, a way that can bring hope for the future along with our sorrows for the past. Redemptive remembering keeps a clear picture of the past, but it adds a new setting and shifts its focus....

Redemptive memory is focused on love emerging from ashes, light that sheds darkness, hope that survives remembered evil." - Forgive and Forget by Lewis Smedes; pp 136, 137


The author recounts how the Israelites were told to remember their past. For the Israelites, the feast of Passover memorialized a time when they had been treated with horrible injustice by Pharaoh. But they were not told to memorialize the evil. Passover was a time to commemorate what God did in the middle of their bondage. Of how he brought them out of Egypt and slavery.




In the same way, through the Lord's Supper, believers have been commanded to remember the terrible, cruel death of Jesus regularly until He returns. This command to remember is not so that the church will resent those who caused His death, but so that we can 'be renewed again and again by the life that rises from the aftershocks of his unfair death.' So that we can praise & thank Christ for the new life and hope his sacrifice has purchased for us.


For me, redemptive remembering isn't a mental trick to help me avoid pain; rather it is a purposeful re-focusing of those painful memories.

It doesn't say the bad experiences weren't really that bad -

it says that, although the bad experiences were deeply wounding,

I choose to focus on how God was faithfully creating beauty in and through the hard places.

Choosing to remember in this way helps to fill the ugly, barren places with the beauty of grace and thankfulness.
*
*
*
*
*

No comments: