So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her,and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
Genesis 3:6-10, ESV
There is a very good chance that some of your memories are pretty awful. When we get looking back we see shameful, dark things. Some of us carry things that are profoundly evil, and they go with us wherever we go. Guilt and mental illness can be twin brothers, and they have tormented us for a long, long time. They are bullies who have no fear– they have only hatred for us. They are the Brothers Grim.
I’m quite convinced that the only way to move on is to have Jesus Christ to fully cleanse you; and that includes your dark humiliations. The human tendency is for concealment. We take considerable effort to conceal and cloak our past lives. Both Adam and Eve understood personal shame.
I remember back on the farm, when my dad discovered that one of our dogs had killed a chicken. He took that dead chicken and wired it around that dog’s neck. That dog wore that chicken for weeks. It was awful, and it began to putrefy. The smell was terrible. I can still see that dog, staggering and tongue lolling out and slobbering. My dad said it was the only cure for a “chicken killer.” The dog would get very sick, attached to this rotting carcass.
Somehow, that is what our past disgrace has done to us. Sure we have moments when we can almost forget. But, for the most part, it is just a temporary reprieve. We slide back and rediscover the pain; it’s just waiting for us. The cost on our mental health is staggering. Many of us are driven in a mad movement to drugs and alcohol. We are compelled to escape the pain, and for a little while it seems to work. (This is called “co-morbidity.” Which is ‘fancy talk’ for a dual problem.)
Most of us, would quickly trade this mental pain, this misery; for a physical one. Something shameful that was done 20 or 30 years ago continues its destructive work. It’s like filling a bucket with corrosive acid. It will “eat” its way out. Our conscience will not allow us to dispose of our self-disgust in this easy, cavalier manner. We need a ‘haz-mat’ crew, to help us clean-up mentally and spiritually.
You have to forgive yourself. You must (!), or you will destroy yourself and those closest to you as well. Often these things are a moldy wall; they seem to just need a coat of paint. Our problem is that it will only cover for a short time. After 20-30 layers are applied, we realize this isn’t really the answer. Nothing we can do is ever enough. We must have Jesus– we must!
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17