(David Sisler's newspaper column, Not For Sunday Only, is in its 13th year of weekly publication. For reprint permission, or to subscribe, contact Mr. Sisler at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Jimmy's Dad was not nearly so excited. He turned to his mother and said, “Mom, I'm surprised at you! Don't you remember how we used to drive you crazy with water guns?”
Harriet smiled and then replied, “I remember.”
Barbara was in a hurry, so much of a hurry, in fact, that when her wallet fell out of her purse in the back seat of a New York City taxi cab, she did not notice. Unfortunately the receipt the cab driver gave her did not include the number of his taxi. When she returned home, she decided to call, hoping that at least her important papers might still be retrieved. She was confident the money was gone. No wallet was recovered.
You can imagine Barbara's delight several days later when she received a package in the mail. It was her wallet, and a note from the cab driver, asking her to call.
“I only looked at your identification,” he said, “so if you don't mind, would you tell me how much money was in it? I am keeping track of what it is costing me to be honest. It is important for me to remember the value of my integrity.”
Those two incidents could properly be called remembering. A letter from a woman which columnist Ann Landers often reprinted, is simply rehashing.
The woman outlined what she described to be a wonderful, 30-year marriage. Her husband was a kind man who had provided for her, their children, and their grandchildren. They were friends, she said, as well as lovers.
Then one day she discovered that more than two decades earlier, on an out-of-town business trip, he had been unfaithful to her. There was no hint of any unfaithfulness since that day 21 years earlier. That uncovered secret destroyed the image she had of their marriage.
One night the disciples caught 153 fish. When they realized it was Jesus who had directed them to their unusual catch, they immediately rowed to shore. All but one. Simon Peter threw aside his heavy coat, jumped into the water, and swam to shore.
After breakfast, Jesus said three times, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Three times Peter reaffirmed his love for the Lord he had earlier denied ever knowing.
There was no rehashing. Jesus did not take Peter to the past and point out his denials. He did not rehearse the words Peter had used when he swore he never knew Jesus. Jesus did not remind Peter of the potential he had squandered. He did not point to his past, He pointed only to Simon Peter's future.
Man condemns with bitter rehashing. God forgives with blessed restoration. You may have lived too long concerned about the your past. Isn't it time you received the courage to live God's future? If you've had enough of rehashing, isn't it time you tried restoration?
One single incident, 21 years before, was isolated, amplified, and rehashed. The woman said to Ann Landers, “I must get a divorce!”
Have you ever noticed that rehashing dominates much of our conversations? We go back to single incidents in our past, or in the past of someone else, and dwell on that one incident. Over and over we rehearse it, imagining what might have been, or trying to see what should have been done differently. We remember how it was and wish how it wasn't.
The result is always the same. The incident occurred just as it did. No amount of regret, remorse or rehashing can change what happened. All that changes is us, and it is usually a change to bitterness.