I have been on this time and God and us kick lately. Steve in a post called “Attachment to the past” reflects on the wonder of how he has made it this far:
While it’s fine to compare and contrast [your past with your present], I have to avoid getting attached to the past. It can feel good to look back and say “look how far I’ve come!”, and that’s fine. But when that sentiment is used to prop me up in the present, then that seems like an unhealthy attachment. It seems like pride. If I stay attached to the past, then it will be harder to live in the present and look forward to the future. And besides, if God isn’t holding on to my past, why should I?
He is right, especially about the warning on pride part. The trick is to learn from your past, hope for the future, and live now in the present moment. But he ended his post with a question, “…if God isn’t holding on to my past, why should I?”
Good question. God is not holding on to our past if you have repented your past sins. (That can be a big “if”.) C.S. Lewis wrote in The Problem of Pain:
We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. I have heard others, and I have heard myself, recounting cruelties and falsehoods committed in boyhood as if they were no concern of the present speaker’s, and even with laughter. But mere time does nothing either to the fact or to the guilt of sin. The guilt is washed out not by time but by repentance and the blood of Christ: if we repented these early sins we should remember the price of our forgiveness and be humble.
Lewis also reminds us that all times are eternally present to God and to heaven. He speculates:
It maybe that salvation consists not in cancelling of these eternal moments but in the perfected humanity that bears the shame forever, rejoicing in the occasion which it furnished to God’s compassion and glad that it should be common knowledge to the universe. Perhaps in that eternal moment, St. Peter—he will forgive me if I am wrong—forever denies his Master. If so, it would indeed be true that the joys of Heaven are for most of us, in our present condition, ‘an acquired taste’—and certain ways of life may render the taste impossible of acquisition. Perhaps the lost are those who dare not go to such a public place. Of course, I do know that this true but I think the possibility is worth keeping in mind.
This reminds me of two scripture passages:
There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. — Matthew 10:26
Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. — John 3:20
Our past maybe on display in heaven for everyone to see. The thing is, I do not know if I can deal with it in my current un-perfected state. I hope that I am not living a certain way of life that “may render the taste impossible of acquisition.” But then again, I am not going to worry too much about it. The great thing about God is that if you or I have repented and honestly have asked for forgiveness of our past, current, and future sins, we will acquire a taste for heaven, whatever it entails.
Lord have mercy on us.