It’s a small world (after all). You’ve said, or at least thought this if you’re 20 or older. You know how it goes. At some random event, separated from the past by time, space and circumstances, someone comes into your view from days gone by, or is mentioned by someone with no connection to your former life…what a small world! This happened to me on Sunday afternoon, sitting at a graduation open house table chatting with some church family. I looked up, and a face at the other side of the food tent caused a firing of memory connections in my brain. It had been 15 years since he’d played a character in my journey, but there he was, big as life. As is usual in moments like these, both the highs and lows of that particular season rapidly fired through my mind. I think we also share something else I experienced at that moment – the negative things, especially those things that were the worst about me, wrestled themselves to the top of my thoughts. Of course, this is the plan of the enemy who is called, in the New Testament book of Revelation, “The accuser of our brothers and sisters in Christ” (words in italics added). In spite of everything the Bible has to say about forgiveness and restoration, it is all too often that the past bogs us down. As always, though, God knew this was going to happen, so I was not surprised that my Monday morning reading included words from King David, whose reign over Israel was one of the nation’s best eras. In the Old Testament book of 2 Samuel, David writes a song of praise after a long season of attack had come to an end. Near the middle of this worship chorus, he writes these outrageous words, “The Lord rewarded me for doing right; he restored me because of my innocence. For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I have not turned from my God to follow evil.” 2 Samuel 22:21–22 (NLT). They are outrageous because in David’s past was both adultery and murder (and they were just the sins of one event in his life). To some, these seem like statements of arrogance or lies. Instead, I believe these are confessions of faith in the Creator who wants to cleanse us from sin! As this same David wrote in the Psalms about God, “He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” Psalm 103:10–12 (NLT). Israel’s king had already repented of these terrible sins (see Psalm 51 for this repentance), so he refused to let the enemy dredge them up again. See how beautiful this can be? Though we remember our terrible choices, God has chosen to forget so all that remains (after repentance/restoration) are guilt-free reminders (so we don’t become repeat offenders) and a growing gratefulness to the God of grace and mercy. As Jesus said, “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” John 8:36 (NLT). Are you enslaved by your past? Come close to the Savior and be free!