For folks, trying to rebuild after falling into criminal behavior, incarceration, addiction and simply "self-will run riot" living, have much detritus and baggage that trails in their wake. Even though they have made changes in their perspective and values, the back child support and broken relationships must be addressed, sometimes over years. Bad credit and unpaid taxes do not magically disappear because someone is truly sorry and longs for life to be different.
And, though none of us likes to think about this so much, truly working to make amends, working to rebuild areas where our skills need honing and building, being the consistent person in our child's life day-after-day is really better for everyone because of the need to work and attend and commit. Frankly it has been "all about me" for too long and I need to remember that my behaviors and choices have caused pain, loss and fear that has accumulated over time. ALL deserve (I deserve and those who have traveled with me deserve) recovery, renewal, restoration and the chance to build faith in God and in each other. That is a life journey, not an event.
So I don't think pretending that past did not exist, or more damaging, trying to rewrite it to pretend it did not happen is at all helpful. But neither does it help to believe that what has gone before in our life defines my future or demands that we surrender to the nonsense that we are somehow destined to continue making bad choices and putting our convenience ahead of the well-being of those we love (or want to love).
What I do believe is that through the grace of God, we can say with St. Paul, "I forget (don't obsess) about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus.”*
God did not send His only beloved Son Jesus to die so that we could be punished and bound by what we have done and what has been done to us in this sinful world. God sent His Son so that the world (and that is you AND me, buddie) can be saved. God loves you and is so big, so powerful that He can even take the worst you have ever done and make it count for something bigger and greater by His Power. Don't think you don't count or that your burden of sin is too big for God. That is rather silly, if you think about it. God can do anything and has promised His good for you. God is never bound by our brokenness!
Have a talk with God about this today. He has been waiting to hear about the longings of your heart --from you -- for such a long time.
* Philippians 3:13-14 (CEB)