Fingers peeling, dry skin flaking like snow fluttering from the sky in winter. I swam in the pool the first day they were clarifying the water. A bright shade of lime resembling the cool aid I used to drink this time of year in summers past. The flavor of apple kiwi simmering in my taste buds. The water was overloaded with new chlorine but being the waterbug I am, dove in anyways.
Little did I know the chemicals were harsher than I expected. For about 2 weeks the skin on my hands were peeling as a result. I bought oils, lotions, one that was recommended by Norwegian sailors themselves. But to no avail. Finally, I stopped peeling my fingers because it wasn’t working and they’ve healed on their own. How God creates the human body to heal itself is fascinating but I digress.
It’s reminded me that sins and struggles of the past are a lot like dead skin that God wants to slough away and have us remember no more.
Our human tendency is to recollect on the past.
This can be a wonderful advantage of the human mind to recall beautiful memories and relive the moments that mean something to us. But there is a disadvantage to this same capacity for recollection when it causes us to recall old memories of past sins and struggles. Things that God already forgave and wants us to leave behind, so that we can step into the new identity of who we are in Christ. And live from that place of purity and victory.
God wants us to forget our past sins and live in light of how He sees us now.
These thoughts have been stirring in my mind this week or so in the wake of sharing something from my past. At first, it feels good to share my past struggle and the victory from it just like it feels good to peel the skin on my fingers. But I discovered something I didn’t expect. It triggered old memories and negative thoughts afterward, with spiritual attack attempting to make me see myself as the old person instead the new person I am. And when I keep peeling, it only perpetuates these memories.
I can’t see myself as new and pure if I remind myself of my past sins, because the mere sharing of it puts it on my mind.
Sharing past sins after we have overcome causes a re-traumatization to the struggle, making me feel like I’m still attached to that identity, when in actuality I’m detached from the sin and possess a new identity.
There is freedom in letting it go.
The past of our sins and struggles are meant to be sloughed away and new skin… a new identity… to grow in its place.
Not to be rehashed and re-pondered over and over.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
2 Corinthians 5:17
I think this is why God says He forgets our sins and remembers them no more…
It is beneficial for our state of mind to forget our sins and claim the new identity we possess.
In Isaiah, God says this to us…
“I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”
This idea of completely forgetting is counter-intuitive.
As human beings with a bent towards nostalgia and recollection, it’s easy to remember things of the past. It’s helpful because it reveals our capacity for reflection and contemplation. But when it comes to the dark seasons of our past, I’m finding that there is freedom in choosing to forget. And looking at myself as the new person God has been crafting me into.
There comes a point when we need to stop rehashing what happened… let it go… and forget our past sins just like God forgets it.
God sees us pure and new.
We should too.
I want to spend more time talking about my new identity than I do about my past.
There are nuances to this, of course. Sharing our past when it’s relevant and helpful to someone else’s struggle is beneficial. It’s also significant when integrated into relationships where you are conversing with others and can be open in vulnerability. It creates deeper connection. But I don’t think it’s helpful to keep identifying ourselves with our past. Share it and move on. And choose to see ourselves as the new person instead of remembering the old person.
Jesus said when we hear His words, we are made clean.
It’s Jesus who peels away the old person and make us new.
“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you…”
We are allowed to let go of our past and flourish in our new self, as if our sin never happened.
We can bring our struggles to the Lord when they happen and process through those in a healthy, cathartic way but when we have finally overcome, it’s to our advantage if we anchor ourselves in that victory mindset and let go of the past.
“Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.”
As we stop looking at our brokenness and look at Jesus and His beauty, we find our dirtiness becoming clean in the process.
When we look in God’s mirror of who He says we are, we glimpse that we no longer see the old self in the mirror like we expected we would.
I believe that is why God says He “blots out your transgressions for My own sake …” in Isaiah 43.
Our relationship with Jesus enriches when we see ourselves freely forgiven and loved, and thus we come closer to Him and we can experience that closeness with Jesus, which is what He desires.
So it benefits God that He would “blot out our transgressions” because it cultivates intimacy between us and Him.
Healthy relationships result from forgiveness and unconditional love.
So He gives it again and again gladly.
Always projecting His goodness onto us. And thus, we can also receive that and internalize it and dwell upon this imparted goodness within ourselves from His Spirit. As we see ourselves in this cleansed way, it transforms how we interact with God.
It’s good for the mind to dwell on what it good.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
I discover God’s Spirit awakening good reminders of who He is and of who He has made me. Overshadowing the peelings of the past. Drowing out the hauntings of past sins I no longer need to identify with. Refreshing beautiful memories I can hold on to. Renewing hope for life with Him along the way. Imparting strength for the trials to come. Reminding me I am more than able to conquer any trial that comes my way. You have so much more ahead for you than what happened in your past. Dwell on the goodness you have the freedom to possess from Him.
Say goodbye to the peelings of the past you…
Say hello to the you that’s always been there because of Jesus…
New… beautiful… daring… captivating… innovative… resilient… filled with endless adventures up ahead.
Questions for Today:
- Why is it beneficial for my state of mind to forget my past sins?
- How does our relationship with Jesus enrich from letting go of our past selves?
- Do I want to embrace the new identity God has already spoken over me?
- How can I embrace the new person God has made me and let go of the past?