I’ve heard so many times that we can’t change the past. While I agree that we cannot change the events that actually happened, we can change our perspectives, our attitudes, and our emotions in relation to events.
I have my own memories, good and bad. I’ve re-written many of them. Consider the following scenarios, as they may reflect anyone’s memories (plug in your own):
* * * * *
That so-called friend who didn’t stick up for me: I didn’t know she was afraid to say something, that she thought of five great things to say later, but thought it was too late, so she never said anything, and she really missed my friendship after that, even though she felt she deserved me ditching her.
That time I said those hurtful things to my neighbor: they really were hurtful, and I meant to hurt her. But I can look back at that now, see that, even though I thought (and still think) that she deserved it, I was hurtful. I can apologize and ask for her forgiveness. If I can’t do that with her, at least I can confess to God.
That one who abused me, over and over and over: I didn’t know at the time that he was abused, himself, that he learned those things from someone he loved and trusted. It was wrong, he was twisted. I hated him. I can forgive him, even though I will never trust him or tell him; and I can grieve what was lost for him and for me.
All those times I failed my child: I can tell him how proud I am of him; I can ask forgiveness for issues I remember or that he brings up. I can tell him and show him I love him.
That parent who was never really a parent: I didn’t understand what he (or she) went through as a child, what was learned, the situations impossible to handle; maybe I never got it that he (or she) was simply incredibly selfish, that it was never about me, always about him (or her).
* * * * *
While we are stuck with the memories, God’s gift is that we can soften the edges; we can change how we remember; we can receive or ask or bestow forgiveness; God can work in the hearts of others, and in us.
Those personal memories I mentioned: some of them still hurt. I’m still embarrassed by some of them. Anger still sparks. I’m working on them. How do I work? I bring them to God. As I wrestle with the thoughts, the condemnation in my head, I bring the fight to God.
I got hurt. I hurt others.
God can redeem!
And, while God may change my heart, how I see things, how I handle memories; I may not see a change in the heart or attitude of the person I’m dealing with. That’s okay. Yes, really. I can ask forgiveness, and it may or may not be given. I may forgive someone, with or without telling that person, and the relationship may evidence no change. That’s okay.
Because God is in control. My responsibility is to stand before God with a clear conscience. I do all that I can to fulfill that, and leave the rest to Him.
So yes, I believe we can change our past, through obedience to God, letting Him work in our minds and hearts and attitudes.
Because God can redeem.