Some years ago, we were burgled while we were away on holiday. They had completely emptied the kitchen, before the partial alarm was set off. Amongst many other things, we lost a complete set of crockery. Well I say complete – actually there was one piece missing. One of the dining plates had a small piece chipped out, and curiously the fragment was still in the cupboard. When a hoard of things was discovered inside a dog kennel at a nearby house, amongst other things, there was an almost-whole set of crockery. When the piece we held matched exactly to the chip out of one of the plates, the evidence was conclusive. The thief was convicted.
When Rachel held in her possession the household gods that she had stolen from her father’s house, she must have wondered what on earth to do with them. She’d got away with it when they came to search her tent, by stashing them underneath her seat, and had given a good reason for not moving (Genesis 31:32-35). But their very presence for ever afterwards, if discovered, would have incriminated her. And her husband Jacob, had sworn that if anyone had taken them, that person would not live. How could she own up to having taken them? How could she dishonour him so? How could Jacob love her if he knew the truth? And most of all, how on earth could she get rid of that condemning evidence without being caught? It must have weighed so heavily on Rachel, and we are not told how she did deal with it, but I bet she bitterly regretted having taken those images.
Many of us have regrets. Sometimes, like Rachel and our burglar, we even have an item that ties us to that wrongdoing, that incriminates us by association, but somehow we cannot bring ourselves to get rid of it. And then there is the memory, triggered so easily, forgotten never.
But God never intended us to live in bondage. He wants us to be free to live life to the full. And that is why Jesus came to die on the cross, to set us free from the burden of our wrongdoing, and the regrets, and the sorrow. Psalm 103:12 tells us, “As distant as the east is from the west, that is how far he has removed our sins from us.”
So it’s time to lay down anything that niggles about the past. We do need to admit to a wrongdoing, then discover God’s loving forgiveness, and move on! We have lives to live, and he want us to live them to the full.