This story has been shared by a Christian who struggled with the memory of past mistakes and the feeling of worthlessness:
I had been a Christian for several years, but during that time I had distressing attacks of anxiety. I just could not believe that God had actually forgiven me. Sometimes I even doubted that He was capable of forgiving a person whose sins were as bad as mine.
I remember vividly an evening when I was looking through my photos. As I walked back over the years, the pictures seemed to [judge] me. They brought back to my mind the kind of life I had lived before I had [trusted] Christ. Photo after photo leaped into focus and pointed a finger of accusation directly at me.
It all came back in huge, overwhelming waves of [guilt]. The drinking (I used to brag about being able to drink anyone under the table); the smoking; the friends who swapped wives among themselves; the angry chip on my shoulder about not knowing [my father]. Then came a messy divorce, followed by a physical involvement with a person I knew I didn’t love.
I closed my eyes to escape the pictures . . . I agonised. The photos brought all my sins back. All my Christian joy was gone. I could see only my unworthiness, the blackness of my sin and my terrible guilt. Shame overwhelmed me. I felt totally worthless.
I pleaded with God the Father to help me . . . I turned to [the Bible] in desperation. Was I truly forgiven of all my sins? God led me to these verses:
Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. I, even I, am He who [covers] your [wrongdoings] for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins (Isa. 43:18-19,25).
My smile returned, for I knew I was forgiven and that I didn’t have to remember who I used to be. I realised that I am the Lord’s—for His glory and praise.
I know now that the devil, the accuser, used those memories to [attack] me. He wanted to cripple me, to make me ineffective in the service of God. But the truth of the Bible had once again triumphed.
When I look at my photos now, I see the ‘new me’—not the one [trapped] by past sins. I am covered forever with the righteousness (rightness with God) of Christ!