Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I Think I’ve Forgotten This Before

“Right now I’m having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I’ve forgotten this before.”

~Steven Wright.

As human beings we often have shocking memories. We tend to forget that we have covered the ground that we have, returning to old nemeses again and again.

We must remember to forget...

Forgetting Our Sins

Whilst we forget things we’ve previously learned and moved away from—having tackled and won those battles—we also forget to entirely rid ourselves of the guilt and shame that once clung so tightly to our hearts. We’ve dealt with it, right? Does it remain or not? Has God forgiven and healed us or not? (Recalling God’s forgiveness and grace for past sin is final—we’re never condemned again for it.)

The old practices that used to define us—having achieved freedom from them—no longer do define us that way. We’re new creations beyond the old in the eyes of God and in our own reality also. We should ensure our new identity is so indelibly pressed-hard in Jesus’ sanctifying grace.

Forgetting Our Shame

Everyone, even people in proud Western societies, experiences shame. This is usually attached neatly to our sin. But, God’s grace is stronger than our shame. We have new life and this is over and above the shame, negating it, making it in math terms, null.

In reality, sin’s power over us is rendered nothing if we trust God; and this is an easier reality to live than we often might think. Trusting God might be seen both as the spiritual insight of awareness—his Presence reminding—and a habit of self-discipline using our own will.

Forgetting Our Success

The very moment we truly forget the former two is the moment we should keep this one firmly in mind, for freedom is sometimes a trap. We get comfy and start to relax, admiring the view from the high plain we’re on. Our successes with God are great but if we’re not careful we’ll see them as an excuse to remain right where we are.

This is not good in a forwards-backwards life, for we’re only ever growing or receding. Our successes we enjoy for a moment and we occasionally reflect upon, but we don’t stay there.

Remembering to Forget – Forgetting to Remember

The spiritual life is all about focus. We do need to remember to forget certain things as well as making sure we take the time to remember the things we’re inclined to forget, like the good Presence of God, particularly in our troubles.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Acknowledgement: This article was inspired by Ellen Vaughn, Radical Gratitude – Discovering Joy Through Everyday Thankfulness (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005), p. 130-38.

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