Rachel has been following her fancy as far as language arts is concerned. What I mean by that is, when she’s struck by a curiosity she begins to hunt, and if it seems a worthwhile subject, she’ll go on and continue her research and then write a report. Her latest was on Pierre Picaud. You’re probably familiar with him but don’t know it. Ever hear of the Count of Monte Cristo? It is believed that the character is based on the real life Pierre Picaud. I found this all fascinating as I didn’t know there was a strand of truth to the movie that I watched so many years ago.
The report was mesmerizing but one fact caused my jaw to drop and me to turn away from the paper and gaze at Rachel. Our main man, who was falsely accused and wrongly imprisoned, plotted his revenge for 10 years.
I looked at Rachel and echoed, “Ten years?!”
I mean, think of it, Picaud was released from prison after 7 years but whether he began to plot while incarcerated or not, he was in a prison of his own making for ten years. A whole decade wasted on the poison of unforgiveness and revenge.
Have you ever given the Apostle Paul much thought? He was a learned man. He was a very religious man. Why else do you think he sought to imprison believers in Jesus and relished in their deaths? Believing in Jesus went against his religion. He thought that he was doing God and humanity a favor by aiding in the destruction of these so called heretics.
Ah, but one day, the King of kings, the LORD of lords, had an intervention. Paul had a miraculous conversion. As you may recall, Paul was on his way to Damascus, papers in hand from the high priest, permitting him to bind any believer he found there and have them hauled back to Jerusalem where they’d be imprisoned, perhaps even executed, when he had an incredible encounter. This man, who had been bent on destroying Christians until Jesus got hold of him, had to forget all that he had been in order to fulfill all that God wanted him to be.
Let’s go a step further: Not only did Paul have to let his past go, fellow believers had to let his past go. I kind of feel for Ananias, whom the LORD sent to minister to Paul. He’s like, “LORD, You want me to go where? To see whom? Do You not know who Saul is? Didn’t You hear about all the evil he’s done to the saints in Jerusalem and now he has authority here in Damascus? I’ll be arrested!”
But Ananias did go and it doesn’t appear as though he put up much resistance. Apparently he trusted God. And isn’t that what we ought to do? Wouldn’t life be so much better if we could forget the pain from our past — both self-inflicted and the pain brought on by others? Paul is a shining example of forgetting what he had done by his own words and deeds.
Let us also remember the Christians of his day who must have felt sorely tested by his newfound faith in Christ. They, too, had to be willing to forgive and forget what he had done. I confess that I probably would have had my questions and doubts if I had been in their sandals.
I was listening to Christian radio one day before New Year’s Day, I don’t remember who was teaching. But he said something that triggered tears to stream down my cheeks. What he basically said was this: “After all he’d been through, there was Joseph. He was second highest in the land and his brothers (not recognizing him) were standing before him in need. He had not one thought of retaliation.”
Years ago a sister-in-law said something especially hurtful to me. I dealt with it and dealt with it and dealt with it and concluded I was done with it until that Bible teacher made that statement. I shamefully admit that even after all of these years there was still a speck inside of me that wanted to throw what she said back in her face. I didn’t even know it was there until that statement smacked me. Thank God He deals with us where we are, and little by little if need be, until it’s all over.
Entering into a new year has given me much pause to think. (Yes, I realize we’ve nearly plowed through the first month but as you can see I’ve been dealing with some weighty stuff 🙂 .) I think on Paul’s statement in Philippians 3:12-14 but a phrase in particular which boils down to this: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I have also been meditating on various verses from the Bible that have to do with God making all things new.
This also grabbed me as Bob and I were talking one night and I shared a horrible memory from years ago concerning him. It dawned on me that the anger and pain were no longer present but I was still giving that instance a voice. I told him the next day, “I don’t want to hold your past against you anymore.”
He isn’t the man he was 20 years ago, 2 years ago, maybe not even 2 weeks ago. And I’m not the same woman. We can’t keep revisiting yesterday (unless it’s to aid the healing of others) no matter how much it hurt. How are any of us going to be the whole people that God created us to be when we still keep clutching the past? “New” is going to be an impossibility unless we let go of the old junk that’s holding us back.
Are you ready to release yourself today? Or perhaps someone else from the prison of your making? Then join me today in forgiving and forgetting as we take the journey toward freedom and wholeness.
Please go to the links below. I believe you’ll be blessed.
If only our dear Picaud would have chosen forgiveness. I am. Will you?