Memory is one of God’s amazing gifts to humanity. It enables us to relive a moment we cherish. Our wounded memories search for healing, lest they generate bitterness within us and rob us of peace and fill us with hatred.
The healing and salvation of our memory does not lie with us. The things we have done and the words we have spoken have consequences which last. We cannot rewrite our past! However, the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is of healing and forgiveness of our past. And this is best explained by Jesus in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15: 11-31).
The prodigal son’s story shows the Father’s grace and truth made visible in time and space in Jesus’ words and actions. The son left his father’s home to assert his separate identity, later to discover he has become a wanderer and a vagabond. He enjoyed the fleeting pleasures of an enslaving wayward life, which promises the moon much but, in the end, delivers gloom.
Thank God the son never lost his memory. And when light dawned, he came to his senses and remembered that in his father’s house are many hired servants who have food to spare, and here he is starving to death. He decided, “I will set out and go back to my father” and confess “I have sinned against heaven and earth.” Memory drove him to repentance to change the wrong direction of his life and return home only to receive the love and acceptance which was always his for the asking. There was a celebration when the son returned home.
Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God is near, repent and believe in the Gospel (Mark 1:15). All human beings are valuable treasures. Jesus forgives our past and heals our memory as in repentance we turn to him. Heaven breaks out in song when a lost child enters the kingdom.