Memories shape us. The bad ones can cause us to be bitter and vengeful. We may become so consumed by our bad memories that we see all things, decide all things in life through the lenses of these bad memories. We could come to see ourselves as victims of life. Needless to say, this is not the kind of life Jesus wants us to live. A life of no peace, no joy, hindered from absorbing, from realizing the full potential of, His love for us. It is not the life of a victorious Christian, thus ineffective to Him. There is no shalom (wellness, completeness, safety, soundness, success, health and wholeness).
The good news is we can decide what we want to do with these bad memories. Let them embitter us? Suppress them? Or lay them at our Lord’s feet? The choice is obvious. I would first remember that each of our lives is a story. The main character, the hero in the story is not me- my SELF but Jesus. My painful experience happened. It gave me a bad memory- that can never be taken away. It has done its damage. But here comes my hero Jesus and I gaze at Him and I meditate . I say to Him, you are that which is true, honourable, just, pure, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8-9). True! Trustworthy ! Just with honor. This means you may be trusted and your words can only be true and beneficial. I cannot understand “the why” of these incidents that gave rise to my bad memories. But I can do what you, the truthful and honourable and just God want me to do. To believe that You are the perfect love that drives out my fears (1 John 4:18), that you have said “the Lord is at hand” – nearby, within my reach. “Do not be anxious about ANYTHING but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let my requests be made known to you And your peace which is beyond my understanding will guard my heart and my mind in Jesus (Philippians 4: 5-7)” I pray therefore for help to let go, lay it at your feet and not retrieve the bad memory once laid. I surrender all to the hero of this story for Him to takeover. I have no more control.
He may bring us to a point where we are able to see the usefulness of the bad memory. Perhaps the memory enables us to relate and to help others who have similarly suffered. Perhaps it has built our character, making us stronger, more persevering. Perhaps it has increased our faith- for faith is letting go to that other to take care of the cause of anxiety (not to say we let go but take it back for us to feed our anxiety). Perhaps it has brought us to meet other people who changed our lives or whom we may influence change.
Perhaps He will bring to remembrance a more accurate picture of the memory. We tend to focus on how we are wronged and forget how we have had a hand in the incident which brought about the bad memory. We may pray to our Lord to give us a more accurate picture of what really happened. Did I have a hand in it? Get our memories accurate. By His grace, we may be brought to a point where we realize that we have also done wrong (no matter how small our contribution to that wrong has been) and we may forgive as we have been forgiven.
We may be shaken up to realize that we have put someone or something in the centre of our lives, instead of putting God in the centre- as should be the case for us to be able to lead lives that He intended to the fullest. It is inevitable that when that someone, that centre leaves us or hurts us, we are shaken. We see cases of persons who cannot be without a partner crushed when that partner leaves them. They are able to rise out of their misery only once another partner comes along and it goes on. Such draw their identities not from their creator and life source (which is natural) but from a person or perhaps their jobs or their money (which is or should be unnatural).
He may help us focus on how we have been delivered from death to life! Such grace to choose me to know Him (broken sinful person that I am) that I may move forward to please Him. Perhaps I would come to a point where I am dominated in my thoughts of this deliverance and not dominated by the bad memory. I would do then all things in remembrance of Him. This would be my new lenses.
My prayer is for you to leave your bad memory at His feet- daily if necessary, till you are enveloped by the promised peace.