I guess that sounds like I've done a lot of bad things in my life. Well, some. But mostly I deal with bad memories of things I've done. Let me explain.
There are things in our lives that we say or do that perhaps at some level we regret. The ones we deal with immediately often times get buried or forgotten completely because we deal with them emotionally and maybe even ask for forgiveness right then and there.
But there are issues in many lives that never go away. Little hurtful actions on our part that are sometimes triggered by current events. Days when we are depressed or disappointed in the way things are going in our lives we methodically return to that mental file we keep handy. You know, the one you call upon every time you criticize yourself and subconsciously re-enforce the negative image that holds you back.
"Boy, am I stupid!" "I'm just no good at this!" "I'm such a klutz!" "If it wasn't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all!"
Sound familiar? Most of us do it everyday.
But yesterday was my day of redemption. I normally hang an American flag in front of my home. It's up through most of the good weather months, not just on national holidays. In fact, I wear them out as they become faded and torn. I need a new one this year. I'm proud to be an American. Don't get me started on that. I'll have to pull out the soap box and sing "God Bless America!"
But on this special day I hang a flag that I struggle with. It is my Easter flag that bears a Golden Cross and the word "Forgiven" on it.
The first time I placed it in the holder I couldn't look up at the passing cars. In my mind, every person I've ever done wrong or hurt in some way, was driving by at that moment. I could hear them say, "Who does he think he is? I haven't forgiven him!"
The odd thing is for weeks afterwards people asked us where they could get one. They too wanted the world to know that they were forgiven also.
This year, as I prepared the flag, I carried with it all of my negative images. I mentally wrapped them inside and as the flag unfurled I saw them blow away in the wind.
The wind that took them away, I believe, is the last breath of Jesus Christ as He died upon the cross so that I could hang that flag with my head held high this year.
Some people may not have yet forgiven me. But the One who matters did.