We all have battle wounds from this thing we call life. We all carry evidence of our experiences—good and bad. Sometimes they are physical marks, like that half-inch white scar at the tip of my right eyebrow from falling into the corner of a dresser drawer when I was four. Sometimes they are emotional wounds that we carry around with us. We may allow those experiences to define us. We may think that we have to keep them because they are part of us—part of who we are. We may think we’re stuck with them and that there’s no real delete button.
After all, science has proven that everything is recorded in the subconscious. From the very beginning of our existence until the present, our subconscious minds have recorded every thought, feeling, action and experience. Like a computer hard drive, every keystroke has been recorded and can be recalled. Even if things are sent to the recycle bin or trash, the computer still keeps them in a special place and they can be recovered. Our brains work much the same way. Even if we don’t consciously remember something, the memory is still there. There are techniques that can be used to access repressed memories and bring them back into consciousness.
So what about those things we’d rather not remember? What if we watched a movie we wished we would not have watched? Are those images imprinted permanently upon our minds? If we witnessed or experienced some horrific trauma, are we forced to replay those negative scenes in our minds for the rest of our lives? I think this is what most people believe, and this is the lie.
The truth is, there is a delete button. It is made possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
“Because of our imperfections, there is a continual concern within each of us that makes us hope we are worthy to have our sins forgiven. The Lord realized that a onetime forgiveness at baptism would not serve our purposes. This was evident in the days of ancient Israel when once a year the congregation of Israel observed the Day of Atonement. During this sacrifice, two goats were brought to the high priest. One goat was sacrificed to the Lord, and the priest conferred the sins of Israel on the head of the other goat. This goat, carrying all their sins, was then led into the wilderness and set free, symbolic of the Savior’s being led without the wall of Jerusalem to be crucified for the sins of the world (see Leviticus 16:21–22; John 19:16–20; Hebrews 13:11–12).” (Gerald Melchin, “Thy Sins Are Forgiven”)
“You must understand that you are free to determine to overcome the harmful results of abuse [and other trauma]. Your attitude can control the change for good in your life….I know victims of serious abuse who have successfully made the difficult journey to full healing through the power of the Atonement. After her own concerns were resolved by her faith in the healing power of the Atonement, one young woman who had been severely abused by her father requested another interview with me. She returned with an older couple. I could sense that she loved the two very deeply. Her face radiated happiness. She began, ‘Elder Scott, this is my father. I love him. He’s concerned about some things that happened in my early childhood. They are no longer a problem for me. Could you help him?’ What a powerful confirmation of the Savior’s capacity to heal! She no longer suffered from the consequences of abuse, because she had adequate understanding of His Atonement, sufficient faith, and was obedient to His law. As you conscientiously study the Atonement and exercise your faith that Jesus Christ has the power to heal, you can receive the same blessed relief. During your journey of recovery, accept His invitation to let Him share your burden until you have sufficient time and strength to be healed.” (Richard Scott, “To Heal the Shattering Consequences of Abuse”)
We are free to determine to let go of our need for our scars and allow them to be healed. Only the Savior can completely erase them for us. We cannot do it ourselves. Many of us suffer needlessly from carrying heavy burdens because we do not open your hearts to the healing power of the Lord. “Repentance is a process of cleansing. It is difficult, but it has an end, a glorious end with peace and refreshing forgiveness and the miracle of a new beginning.” (Richard Scott, “To Be Free of Heavy Burdens”)
Alma described this miracle of a new beginning after he had been cleansed: “Nevertheless, after wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God. My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more.” (Book of Mormon, Alma 27:28-29, emphasis added)
Are you carrying something that’s weighing you down? Do you have a scar in need of healing? “If you have felt impressions to be free of burdens caused by yourself or others, those promptings are an invitation from the Redeemer. Act upon them now. He loves you. He gave His life that you may be free of needless burdens. He will help you do it. I know that He has the power to heal you.” (“To Be Free of Heavy Burdens”)
It feels really good to be able to let go.