Long after midnight, while watching a creepy classic on the late late movie, we see it: a scene so hideous in its simple truth, so horrifying that— We shudder and try to look away, but it’s too late; and now, we may never be able to fully purge the sickening image from our fevered brains!
The scene: in a dimly-lit kitchen a woman is removing what appears to be an ordinary cookie sheet from her oven. Unbeknownst to her, however, a strange alien substance has covered the cookie sheet … an evil, slimy film that’s been lurking there … awaiting the right moment to strike.
The nasty stuff begins to grow … rising, taking on a ghoulish shape. It’s grey and gooey, sticky and scarier than anything we’ve seen before!
Wait a minute, we cry in unison. Are we watching a repeat of The Blob with Steve McQueen? Remember that 1958 sci-fi flick? Hapless viewers were warned by the movie’s opening theme song, “Beware of the blob! It creeps; And leaps, and glides and slides; Across the floor; Right through the door; And all around the wall — A splotch, a blotch! Be careful of the blob!” Corny? Hey, watch it! The great pop composer Burt Bacharach wrote those crazy lyrics!
All this aside, we were absolutely wrong. Guess our minds wandered a moment, and we hadn’t realized we were now watching a commercial for Pam Cooking Spray. You know, the stuff that keeps food from sticking to pots, pans and baking surfaces.
Apparently, the lady in the commercial had forgotten to spray on the Pam, and now the thin residue of old food, which clung tenaciously to her cookie sheet, was rising up to expose her mistake. “I am the ghost of meals past,” it proclaims, ready to haunt your tastebuds with the disgusting flavors of meals long gone but not quite forgotten.
Imagine, a funky residue of spinach quiche invading the taste of your chocolate chip cookies! Nothing ruins the enjoyment of a good cookie more than something nasty tasting mingling with the butter and brown sugar! Yuck!
And, heh, life is like a cookie sheet. No, really! In life, we make mistakes; we encounter conflicts and disappointments; and in our relationships we experience, at one time or another, hurts, misunderstandings, and even betrayals. Sometimes the pain and disillusionment of the past lingers on. It sticks to us like that gooey glob in the Pam commercial! We think we’ve moved on, but a thin film of nasty experiences sticks to our hearts. It’s those memories that leave a “bad taste” in our mouths — months, even years, later. These “ghosts” can continue to haunt us, with emotional “residue” that can contaminate fresh relationships and new experiences, preventing us from fully tasting all the good things in life!
Why do bad things seem to stick, even long after we “forgive and forget”? Well, with God, forgiveness and acceptance are instant. The Bible states, “God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, He forgives them and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong.” (1 John 1:9 GOD’S WORD)
There’s no residue of the past, because nothing sticks! The cookie sheet of our lives is left clean as a whistle! And our loving, merciful Heavenly Father does not bring up the past to mess up the “flavor” of our present. Instead, He casts “all our sins into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19 Jubilee Bible). In other words, He scours the “pan” and then flushes the residue down the drain!
Alas, if only people could do the same! Being weak and fallen creatures (say “humans”), we tend to cling to our hurts and disappointments. This partly stems from self-righteousness. Ouch! We all make mistakes, and we’ve all let someone down in the past. But we refuse to consider the old proverb, “To err is human, to forgive divine!” So we need to give those who hurt us a break. After all, they’re only human! Spray on the PAM of love and forgiveness! “For Love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8 NLT)
We need to cut ourselves some slack, too. Some emotional wounds do take time to heal. And yet, even after forgiving ourselves and others — and moving forward — we may still feel some emotional residue. But that’s where God comes into the picture! He is like spiritual PAM!
As we grow closer to God, we become more like Him. We begin to see things the way He sees them, and we begin to respond the way God would respond. As we mature in the Lord, we are better able to overcome hurts and disappointments. We get better at forgiving, and better at going through life without having every insult and injury stick to us!
We can only truly forgive and move forward when we include God in the process. So, be honest with your Heavenly Father. Present your hurts to Him in prayer. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NLT) Ask Him to scrape away any emotional residue, to give you a divine perspective, and cover you with His love!
A little spiritual PAM will keep you free from those ugly emotional blobs that come creeping and crawling — and which try to cling to the heart. Don’t get stuck! Be free! Free from being haunted by the ghosts of past mistakes, hurts, and disappointments. Free to taste the good things God has prepared for you. (Ephesians 2:10)