RECONCILIATION could be one word that describes the gospel. And that’s about forgiving the past, so the future could again be emblazoned with hope.
Consider this wisdom:
“Jesus talks about the past in terms of forgiving it. Some say forgiveness is central to his whole message. Jesus tells us to hand the past over to the mercy and action of God. We do not need to keep replaying the past, atoning for it, or agonizing about it.”
– Fr. Richard Rohr OFM
Isn’t it amazing how much the gospel of forgiving the past aligns with our own instinct?
We know how much our lives would improve if only we were equipped to forgive the past – to reconcile it. We know the power in this truth, but it’s engaging this power in our lives that seems so elusive. But we can teach ourselves the practice of forgiving the past.
We do this by tapping into our conscious minds; becoming mindful of the repetitiveness of replaying past trauma, judging and condemning our past acts, and reliving the pain – keeping it alive to the detriment of the life seeking to emerge from within us.
The past is five seconds as well as five or fifty years behind us. Attributions of harshness are unhelpful, whereas attributions of health in seeing reality as it is help. We improve by gaining awareness and insight; awareness through drawing unconscious thought to consciousness, and insight by prayerful contemplation with God over the days, the months, the years.
Insight is where we hear God and believe and then apply what He says we ought to do.
Our mental, emotional and spiritual health all rely heavily on how we manage and view the past.
God does not want us to view ourselves in a harsh light, unless it’s for the purpose of a momentary ‘godly sorrow’ for which is useful in confession and repentance.
But beyond this godly sorrow, which leads to healing, God knows there’s no point in rehashing regrets of past.
We can learn over time to let go of everything God would not wish for us to carry.
Steve Wickham is a writer and pastor who holds degrees in Science, Divinity, and Counseling.