“Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.” Isaiah 38:17
One of the things that being involved in competitive sports taught me is how to put my mistakes behind me quickly.
If I got fooled on a pitch and missed the ball by a mile, I had to put it out of my mind and get ready for the next pitch.
If I missed a wide open lay-in in basketball I would hear the fans groan and the coach would shake his head and I knew I had let my teammates down, but I had to put it out of my mind and hustle back on defense.
If I let a pitch get past me when I was playing catcher and a runner advanced a base, I had to chase down the ball, get it back to my pitcher and get ready for the next pitch.
If I missed the first of two free throws I had to put it out of my mind and concentrate on the second one.
Indiana Wesleyan University lost its very first collegiate soccer game because of a hands penalty on me. That was a long ride home. But the next day I was back at practice working to get better
When I miss the green after I have hit a perfect drive in the fairway, it is aggravating but I have to put it out of my mind and focus on hitting the next shot.
I hated when I swung and missed and when I made an error or missed an easy shot or committed a dumb penalty, but I had a determination not to let one mistake beat me twice.
I have not forgotten the errors and mistakes I made playing ball. If I sat down and thought about it hard enough I could probably remember most of them. But I made a conscious decision not to be defeated or defined by my worst moments. I put them “behind my back”.
Those experiences have helped me understand this great truth about the mercy and grace and goodness of God in Jesus Christ! He Who knows everything always has chosen to not remember my sins against me, to put them behind His back so that I don’t have to be defeated or defined by my sin!
To me, it makes God’s mercy and grace more meaningful. And it makes the sacrifice of Christ more powerful to know He COULD remember but chooses not to because of what Jesus did! Think about that! Which takes more grace forgetting something or remembering it and choosing to extend grace and mercy instead of justice?
If you have ever been told to just forget something bad that you did or something hurtful that happened to you, that is well-meaning advice but it is also unrealistic. Don’t feel bad guilty because you can’t forget. You don’t forget, you forgive and you decide not to focus on it. You can choose to “put it behind your back”. You should refuse to allow yourself to be defeated or defined by your past.
When your infinite, Holy, omniscient God chooses not to remember your sins against you but rather graces you with pardon and forgiveness in Christ – who do you think you are to dwell in your pain and failure from the past?