“Yes, I have to plan my strategy!”
“Strategy for eating sushi?”
Over thirty years ago, I was the medical director for a laboratory in a city that was a two hour drive from my home. My pathology group agreed to put me up in a hotel for a week at a time and issued me a meal allowance. I gladly obliged and ate my favorite meal, sushi, every night at a wonderful sushi bar located close to the laboratory. There has never been a time before or since when I ate so much sushi! In a short period of time, the sushi chefs got to know me and expected my arrival at 6PM every evening, often reserving special items for me that they received from the fish market earlier in the morning.
It was all in jest when I was speaking to one of my colleagues, but it was exciting to plan a sushi eating strategy. Should I begin with the o-toro (fatty tuna) sashimi then move on to the hamachi (yellowtail tuna) or should I opt for the raw oysters in ponzu sauce then move on to the fish? Should I then break it up with a grilled snapper head or a chawanmushi (steamed and savory egg custard)? And of course, the nigri was saved for last. The nigiri are what most consider sushi, fermented rice paired with a protein, usually wrapped in nori or seaweed. So many permutations and I tried many of them during my stay there. And let’s not even start with the sake pairings! Oh yes, it was a very special time.
I remember these sushi dinners so well because it dramatically contrasted with my professional work in that laboratory. It was grueling with excessively high caseloads and seemingly endless administrative issues with which to deal, overseeing a laboratory with several hundred employees. In contrast, during my dermatopathology fellowship, I never worked harder but it was exhilarating to be in such an academically stimulating environment, working with world class experts who literally wrote my textbooks. I have many fond memories of that time and remember many of my cases, but I do not remember the meals. I was on a tight budget and often ate a bowl of ramen for breakfast and dinner. No meal allowance there! It was a very special time as well, but for completely different reasons.
When I was in high school, I was taught that we retain all of our memories. If we cannot remember something, it is because the proper neural pathways have not been stimulated. Neurobiologists are now discovering that memory is not so simple. Memories need to be stored in the parts of our brain that are biologically adapted for long term memories. When we recall the memories, each time we do this is strongly influenced by the events at the time of the recall. Thus, long term memories may subtly change and even be forgotten. There is evidence in other animals that neural connections are actually destroyed, leading to loss of certain unpleasant memories. Instead of retaining all memories, forgetting may actually be a vitally important protective mechanism of the brain.
All of us retain memories of blessings and sins. Like the examples I shared, we love to hold on to pleasant memories and try to rid ourselves of unpleasant ones. Many times, unpleasant memories deal with sins. These sins may weigh heavy upon our consciences. While the brain may have a physiological process to help us forget some sins, it is only a cosmetic patch. How do we deal with the guilt that sin inflicts upon us?
I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.
Isaiah 43:25 (NLT)
What neuroscientists have only recently discovered, God decreed thousands of years ago! When we confess and repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, through His saving grace and mercy, He remembers our sins no longer. It is more than a rewiring of our brains or filtering memories, God blots our sins from His memory granting us forgiveness. This is how He deals with sins and guilt in our lives. He replaces our sins with the peace and comfort that surpasses all understanding through faith and belief in Jesus Christ.
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.