“Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child; Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed; For the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous Than the sons of the married woman,” says the Lord. 2 “Enlarge the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your pegs. 3″For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left. And your descendants will possess nations, And they will resettle the desolate cities. 4 “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; Neither feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. Isaiah 54:1-4 NASB
The shame of Israel’s youth was 400 years of enslavement in Egypt and the reproach of her widowhood was 70 years in Babylonian captivity. Metaphorically, the above text contrasts Israel in captivity, barren, and desolate with the restored and redeem nation, prolific and rejoicing, fruitful and productive. But God said to Israel, “[f]ear not, for you will not be put to shame; [n]either feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; [b]ut you will forget the shame of your youth . . .” (verse 4).
We must recognize that one of the reasons it is so difficult to let go of fear is because we haven’t let go of the shame of the past, especially the shame of our youth. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). Fear punishes us and keeps us tied to shame and feelings of disgrace. For example, in many families, in some way or degree, they have experienced some form of child abuse, molestation, incest, an unwanted pregnancy and abortion. As a result, there is now a legacy of humiliation and shame–a severe sense of un-deservedness that seems to linger with those who carry this shame. But the promise of the Gospel is that you will forget the shame of your youth. God promised to wipe away all tears from your eyes (Rev. 21:8). When God wipes away tears, He takes away the cause of our pain and shame; He removes the very things that make us cry.
Some have tried to get rid the pain of their past by participating in a support group. Undoubtedly, support groups do a lot of good; notwithstanding, these groups have an inherent limitation: they keep you thinking about what you need to forget. The wisdom of Scripture is that we are to “remember not the former things, neither consider the things of old because God desires to do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it . . .” (Isaiah 43:18, 19). God is clearly saying, forget it! Don’t keep playing the “video tape” in your mind of past hurts. Feel it, feel the negative energy associated with it, and then release. Put it behind you and get on with your life. After all, much of the shame of your past had to do with things that happened to you as a child. You had no frame of reference to what was being done to you by that relative, i.e., father, grandfather, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, or family friend. But God says He will heal you, your emotions, your psyche, and you will forget the shame of your youth.
Forgive and forget it. Let go of the negative emotions that will cause you to stay stuck in disgrace and humiliation in life. If you feel like you pressing the gas petal and the car of your life, as it were, and you can’t move forward, then there’s some forgetting that you’ve got to do yet. Stop thinking about those who hurt you, wronged you, and sinned against you. Recognize that any desire for revenge is self-destructive and is always interpreted within as a request for more pain. God said, forget it!