Not Letting the Past Haunt UsBy: Jeff Spector
After I joined the Church and adopted a new lifestyle more compatible with the Gospel, my Mom, who was not particularly happy that I joined the Church in the first place, used to love to remind me about my behaviors prior to joining. Not in an evil, spiteful way, but a gentle reminder. If the topic was about drinking alcohol and I made a comment about it, she would invariably say,
“Well, you used to drink.”
To which my reply always was,
“But I don’t, now.”
My family was never big drinkers to begin with, so I was always puzzled why that in particular bugged her so much.
“Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.” (D&C 58:42)
The Lord is more forgiving of those who repent than we are of others and ourselves. Some might say that they forgive, but not forget. Yet, the Lord says He does both, forgive and forget.
On the other hand, it seems prudent in some cases, to ere on the side of caution. Such as not leaving a young son or daughter with a sex offender newly released from prison. Forgiven? Possibly. Forgotten? Perhaps not such a good idea.
What about the horrendous acts in history like the Holocaust or what the US did to Native Americans? Hard to both forgive and forget. Yet, we are expected to.
“I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men. (D&C 64:10)
There are those who seem to enjoy bringing up the past, whether it is an individual act, a historical event or an organization’s misdeed. For some, no matter how far we have come, they are there to remind us that something happened, usually not in the best light.
“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” – Edmund Burke
They would use this notion to justify their bringing up of the past, as though nothing can change and, without the reminder, will at some point repeat.
However, people and institutions can and do change for the better. There are many examples of those, once on the wrong track, going on to lead exemplary lives, making great contributions to society. Organizations, once on the wrong side of some issues, realized their mistake and corrected it. Should they be eternally condemned, having erred at one time?
When we reach the judgment bar, will our kind and loving Savior dredge up everything we ever did that was wrong? If we have truly repented, He tells us, no, He will not.
Then why do we did it to others? What can be gained?