“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” (Phil. 3:8)
There is a difference between reminiscing, longing for those things of our past and simply recollecting them, not only those achievements of the world that we accomplished, but the sin within them. If you will spend time contemplating them, in fact if you will give pause at times to consider any sin, you will see that all of them have their foundations in our emotional state, all of them, and perhaps it is not wise to speak in absolutes here, are based on emotions.
Before you were saved, you did not see fault in this, they were not recognized as a sin against the Most High, the difficulty now that you have been born-again is not so much the continuous battle against sin, which is nearly always prevalent in our lives, as it is how we react to those memories of the sins before we were saved. “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3)
It is almost impossible to offer our testimony to someone without bringing up who we were before the Lord called us to Himself, if the change from who we were to who we are is not visible, then that testimony would not truly reveal a life lived for the glory of God. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
I have met individuals who will not listen to those testimonies, seeing it as a sin within itself to even mention them, and thereby misinterpreting Ephesians 5:12, “For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.” I have also met people, and these are the majority, who when they hear your testimony, want you, for lack of a better phrasing, to continuously feel bad about those sins, to repent always of them.
This is then the context, if you will, of this short, poorly written letter, can you forgive yourself in what the Lord has already forgiven you for?
The intellectual part of us realizes the truth, those sins were crucified at the cross, they are never going to be remembered by the Lord, the emotional side of us is grieved, relative to the knowledge not just of the action of those sins, but against whom they were committed. “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.” (Psalm 51:4)
The heart and the mind, the emotional side of us and the intellectual come together as one when we understand Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” (Isaiah 65:17) I cannot say for sure, but I do not personally believe this means that the Lord is going to wipe away our bad memories and allow us to keep the good ones, salvation holds little meaning if we do not know what we were saved from, if those who reside in the Lake of Fire know without a doubt why they are there, we must know why we are in heaven for all eternity.
It is the way we look at those sins of the past, and that is how we should look at them today, forgiven.
My friends, if you cannot forgive yourself then you do not fully understand the price that was paid for you, and if we do not consider the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, the blood He shed for us, then we will never let go of those sins, they will forever plague us.
You have to let them go.
You will meet people who will not let you forget them, who will not let you forget who you once were. Feel pity for them, for although they may be your brothers and sisters in Christ, they will not forgive themselves, they will hold those sins up before themselves and never truly realize they have been forgiven of them.
Let those memories go, see them as the Lord sees them, forgotten.