Poof! it's Gone
Poof! It’s Gone
What if history could be erased? Not the good stuff, mind you. Those things need to stay. Just the bad, the ugly, the hurtful would be struck from all records. Evidence of them ever happening would magically disappear. Poof! it’s gone. Vanished into thin air as if it never happened. We could begin each day from here on with a clean slate. All of us would be on a level playing field, each getting an equal share of happiness. Sounds like a plan.
There might be a few glitches we’d have to work through. Some repercussions here and there. But that's to be expected. Take for instance, if all bad were removed from the records, then that must mean that those bad things done were irrelevant. They mustn’t really matter if they could be poofed away so easily. Society can move along perfectly fine without remembering them, thank you very much.
Then again, if the bad is deemed irrelevant, wouldn’t that make the pain inflicted and damage done by those bad things also irrelevant? Wouldn’t that leave its victims in the lurch? They could say they’d been hurt or offended, but there’d be no basis or justification for their claims because the source was removed. It’s nonexistent.
That would cause some problems. There’d be people everywhere with unresolved—unexplained, unaccounted for—issues of pain and offense because the bad was erased. All we could possibly offer them would be a shrug of our shoulders and some glib advice. “Deal with it.” “Pull yourselves together and move on.”
Right. Do I detect an elephant in the room?
There might be another teensy-weensy problem with our plan to erase bad history. Bad things will keep cropping up and spoiling things. People will gum up the works by adding fresh wrongs each-and-every day. Then we’re back to having to erase the new bad things done today so everyone gets an even break tomorrow. It would be tough maintaining bad-history wipeout, but it must be done. We can’t let anyone start off hurt. No one should begin their day offended. We might end up with a massive pain pile up, and we don’t want that.
Should there be repercussions for those bad things done? Shouldn’t people be held accountable for their actions? Hardly. How could we punish them for doing bad if we scrapped the bad? It’s off the records, remember? We started over. It never happened. And those generations coming after could just follow in their footsteps.
Well, then everyone just needs to do their own thing, mind their own business, and do what’s right. Then we would all get along.
Problem is . . . there seems to be a discrepancy in minds as to what right actually is. The Bible calls it our sin nature. It messes everything up. Though we were originally created in God’s image, our sin nature—that tendency to do bad—is hereditary thanks to Adam and Eve. Talk about following in someone's footsteps!
The way people were acting in the book of Judges, you’d think they too had erased yesterday’s bad. No one remembered Noah’s ark? Sodom and Gomorrah? Those lawless times of the judges were riddled with chaos and confusion because no one was held accountable for their actions. It was every man for himself. We’re talking strife, division, rape, murder, concubines, perverse men, prostitutes being cut into pieces and sent twelve different directions. I can't imagine their hurt and offense.
Do we really want to experience the dark side of Groundhog Day by eliminating our history? Actor, Bill Murray, would have nothing on us if every morning we woke up to the same bad-history merry-go-round. We get up, do our own thing (good or bad), only to go to bed, and wake up not knowing why we’re hurting worse than the day before because yesterday’s ick was obliterated. Nothing would ever change except for the unaccounted for, indescribable pain. We’d self-destruct for sure. Those in the book of Judges surely would have if God hadn’t intervened by raising up a judge time and again to put things in order. When that judge died, the next wave of bad swept through. No wonder it mentions three times that there was no king in Israel (Judges 18:1, 9:1, 21:25). The footnote in my Bible reads, “There was no king . . . because in Israel there was no God. The Lord is King”. So, every man did what was right in his own eyes (vs. 25).
We are facing a serious conundrum here. The answer to our bad-history problem isn’t to remove it from textbooks and landmarks and pretend those things didn’t happen. People’s bad deeds in Judges are recorded in Bible history as a reminder so we don’t repeat their same mistakes. In fact, every bad thing recorded in the Bible is there for a redemptive reason. Now these things happened to them as an example (a warning to us); they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax (1 Corinthians 10:11).
The ugly past can't be reduced to just a figment in the imaginations of a few old relics. These terrible things did happen. They shaped our lives. They need to be addressed and the vicious sin cycle broken. Pain needs to be healed.
Think of the scores and scores of bad things that have accumulated from the beginning of time to today—every horrible, sinful, wicked, evil action mankind has ever committed against God and against each other throughout all the ages. Picture them placed upon one sinless Lamb of God as He hung on Calvary’s cross. He who knew no sin became sin for us . . . (2 Corinthians 5:21). Now picture all of history’s pain and suffering—every grief, every sorrow, every oppression and affliction—also placed upon Jesus (Isaiah 53). Can you see it? It’s all there, even yours and mine. [For many the Servant of God became an object of horror; many were astonished at Him.] His face and His whole appearance were marred more than any man’s, and His form beyond that of the sons of men . . . (Isaiah 52:14).
Because God is just, the punishment we and all mankind deserves had to be administered. But he (Jesus) was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was placed upon him . . . (Isaiah 53:5). Because God is also holy, He had to turn His face away from it all. And there, buried beneath the deplorable rubble of human sin and suffering, God's justified wrath and seeming rejection, Jesus cries out, Father forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).
Forgiveness was ours when we repented of our sins. Healing was ours because we received God’s mercy and grace through Jesus’ sacrifice. It's the only way to bring closure to bad history and relief from its persisting pain. You and I know that God is in the business of using our ‘bad history’ as the starting point for the new life He begins in us.
But the world doesn’t know yet. How will they withstand the raging storms on the horizon if there are no heroes who overcame because there is no record of bad to overcome? no past to inspire them to do better? no scriptures to guide them? They’d be as helpless as tumble weeds blown about with the wind.
Granted, our nation has some very unhealthy roots. But there are more healthy ones than unhealthy. A giant oak cannot withstand the unpredictable fierceness of nature when a chunk of its root system is removed. It’s through its roots that it receives water and nutrients from deep within the soil. We need to tell people that there’s a way to remember bad history without removing a chunk of our roots. Yes, there are many wounds. But our wounds can be healed through the wounds of Christ. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). Those healed wounds will leave scars, but those scars serve as signposts pointing to the scarred hands and feet of Jesus. They point us in a better direction. They remind us to be thankful that God intervenes in the affairs of mankind. Make straight paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed (Hebrews 12:12)
We can be more than conquerors through Christ. Raging storms come. They go. Flood waters rise and fall. But our foundation stands strong. Our anchor holds. Our Healer heals.