A new doctor had arrived in town. He could cure anything and anybody. Everyone was amazed with what he could do - everyone except for Mr. Thompson, the town skeptic.
Grumpy old Mr. Thompson went to visit this 'miracle doctor' to prove that he wasn't anybody special. When it was time for his appointment he told the doctor, "Hey, doc, I've lost my sense of taste. I can't taste nothin', so what are ya goin' to do?"
The doctor scratched his head and mumbled to himself a little, then told Mr. Thompson, "What you need is jar number 47."
So the doctor brought the jar out, opened it, and told Mr. Thompson to taste it. He tasted it and immediately spit it out, "This is gross!" he yelled.
"Looks like I just restored your sense of taste Mr. Thompson," said the doctor. So Mr. Thompson went home.... very mad.
One month later, Mr. Thompson decides to go back to the doctor and try once again to expose him as a fake, by complaining of a new problem. "Doc," he started, "I can't remember anything!" Thinking he had the doctor stumped now, he waited as the doctor scratched his head, mumbled to himself a little, and told Mr. Thompson, "What you need is jar number 47, it's......"
But before the doctor could finish his sentence, Mr. Thompson was cured and fled the room!
As we begin a new year, we come to the "Great Physician" for healing -- healing not so much in the form of physical ailments (though many of us have those) but spiritual ailments. We come with regret, with guilt, with disappointment over mistakes made in the past year. We are tempted to want to put those negative things out of our mind altogether, but as we find healing and forgiveness at the hands of Jesus Christ, one of the things that needs to be restored is our memory.
George Santayana once said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Wisdom teaches us to learn from our mistakes, so that we don't continue to make them. The challenge for us is to remember the past and to learn from our past without living in the past.
Jesus said to the church of Ephesus, "Remember how far you have fallen. Return to me and change the way you think and act, and do what you did at first." (Revelation 2:5)
At this, the beginning of 2014, may God help you to remember your failures of the past year, but don't dwell on them. Find forgiveness and move forward with the wisdom gained from your mistakes to live more faithfully for God this year.