Have you ever had an injury that took a long time to heal? Perhaps it had a scab on it, and you could not help but pick at it. Every time you pulled it off, the scab pulled some of the healed skin beneath it off too. That spot would itch, and you would pick. Itch. Pick. Itch. Pick.
If you continue to pick and pull and tear at a wound, it will not ever heal. You can keep it going forever if you tinker with it each day.
Why would you believe your mind to be any different?
Remember how you learned to add or multiply? You may have recited those tables over and over in your mind until you didn’t even have to think about it. You accepted what you remembered about them as truths. If you learned one wrong, you may have struggled to get rid of that memory.
Memory is a funny thing. We all remember events a bit differently. We may remember them in relation to what we were doing or even the feelings that we had at the time. The smell of leaves in the autumn reminds me of puppies because years ago my dog had puppies and wrapped them in the leaves to keep them warm. It was so cold, we wound up taking them indoors, but I digress.
Unlike the smell of fall leaves or the emotion surrounding the birth of puppies, you may not have any real emotion surrounding addition or multiplication tables that you’ve memorized.
Painful events have all kinds of emotions stuck to them, and they also have all kinds of lies stuck to them. Often we believed a lie at the time it happened, or we may believe a lie about ourselves in connection with what happened. Our perspective is not perfect.
When we replay those events in our minds, we burn them into our memories just like my memory of the birth of those puppies, but not like our memorized math tables. Over time we forget that we may not have the facts just right, and we begin to accept what we remember as truth.
How long will it take you to forget 5+5=10? Exactly. You may never forget it. When you replay bad things over and over again, you make them harder to forget. You make the emotions around them harder to forget, and you make those things you accepted as truth harder to correct.
He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
God casts our sin into the sea of forgetfulness. Perhaps we should make a point to do the same thing with the sins of others and with our own sins when we repent.
What replays do you have going on inside of your head? Replays are good for things you need to remember – scripture, academics, birthdays, and anniversaries, but they are not helpful if they are used to beat yourself up or used to beat up on others. I encourage you to let go of the useless and put you mind to work on more pleasant things.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.