A Fresh Start

Tim Richards   -  

A Fresh Start

Those who read my last column may remember I wrote about Michael and Matthew Clark; two brothers with leukodystrophy, a fatal disease which reverses one’s mental and physical abilities. Today I share the story of Jill Price, a woman whose mental ability is the complete opposite. She was born with an amazing condition called hyperthymia which allows her to remember everything with extraordinary clarity.

Price can replay all of the events from her past in vivid detail; both the good and the bad. Remembering the good times is wonderful, but her precise memories of the bad times are often extremely challenging and sometimes bring her deep pain. She clearly recalls every loss, criticism, mistake, and regret. Price acknowledges these painful memories sometimes play over and over again in her mind.

For most of us picturing what life might be like if we remembered everything is… well unimaginable. However, scripture teaches us God has perfect knowledge which goes far beyond hyperthymesia. Many passages from the Bible speak of God’s omniscience, or the fact that he knows everything. The psalmist wrote, “You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. (Psalm 139:3-4, NLT, my emphasis)

Despite God’s perfect memory, scripture also teaches that when God forgives, he no longer considers us guilty. It is as though our sin never occurred. This is how God describes his forgiveness, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:25, NIV, my emphasis)

When Kenneth Patterson described God’s amazing forgiveness in his December 20, 2023, Our Daily Bread devotional, he pointed out that even if we perfectly remember our failures, those memories should not be our focus. Since God is willing to forgive our past, why should we not be willing to forgive ourselves?

God sets the perfect example when he forgives by treating us as if we have not sinned. Each of us should follow God’s example. After asking God for forgiveness, we must also forgive ourselves and let go of our past.

Paulo Coelho correctly said, “Make peace with your past so it won’t destroy your present.” We are to acknowledge our failures but not live defeated lives since God’s forgiveness comes with the offer of a fresh start. My hope is that each of us will confess our sins to him and begin 2024 with the fresh hope he offers everyone.

Fields marked with an * are required