Romans 8:31-35 – What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died — more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? (ESV)
There are things in my life that I have done that I am not proud of, and bad events that I have witnessed. These memories embarrass me when I look back, because I know that I failed myself and God. These are all things that the devil would condemn me for out of hand, skewering, twisting, and turning me on the rotisserie of guilt, shame, and self-condemnation, if I let him. Often, I become too embarrassed, fearful, feeling silly about a "small thing", or just too ashamed before God to place it into His hands.
These days, however, I know that there is a solution to the problem: Ask Jesus into the situation. Tell the truth. I am reminded of the crossroad reminder for pedestrians: Stop, Look, and Listen.
Stop – Stop going over the same ground again and again without deciding to take action. Decide once and for all to break the cycle of destructive repetition, running away from it, or even into it, and leaving it as it is, unsorted, only to revisit it again later. This statement of intent can be done wherever/whenever the memory occurs.
Look – Ask God to show you what/where the real truth is, and trust Him to do just that. If nothing is forthcoming straight away, sleep on it. Allow the truth to bubble up. In a few days' time ask: has anything changed about how I feel? If not, ask again and leave it with Him until you sense His peace. If you are not prepared to let go, do not fret over it. It may take years for your circumstances to change.
Keep asking for help to want to want to allow God into memories to purify your heart and mind.
For some this may be a tough ask. God understands and respects that, and so it may be done a little at a time, not at all, or all at once. (It took several years of marriage to recognize, and finally to lay down, pictures of an old relationship before God finally healed the past. It may help to calculatedly visualize Jesus into the memory/dream as a deliberate act of intent or an active defence against a spiral downwards.
Listen – To God's love. Trust that God has the willingness, the power, and the authority to forgive and break the chains of fear, failure, lust, guilt, shame, and condemnation. That is why Jesus came.
Rest assured that if we are truly willing to ask and receive, He is more than able to stay with us and redeem all of us. Do not be surprised if people see the difference, because even if you are not aware of it, an increase in God's love and peace in our lives sooner or later will not be hidden!
A caveat: If you are a new Christian, been involved in the occult, or just struggling with God's love for you, it may be wise first to ask for a mature Christian's prayer support, or, indeed, to ask for specific prayer counselling.
Prayer: Lord, it is a mystery how we have wallowed for so long in our failures, spiritually starving, but yet, like the prodigal son's father, You are keen to give us a helping hand to bring us back safe home at last. Please show us the way forward, rejoicing in Your great love. May the Holy Spirit be a light for our path today, in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power" (Lyrics)