My mama has a favorite joke she likes to tell about 3 old women with bad memories: one woman gets half-way up the stairs and can’t remember if she’s going up or down them, one woman stands in front of the fridge and can’t remember if she’s getting something or just put something away, the third woman says, “I’m glad I don’t have your problems, knock-on-wood…is that the front door or the back?”
(The very sad thing is that not only has my Mama told this joke hundreds of times, forgetting she’s told it already (love you Mama) …I actually had to look the joke up on the internet because I couldn’t remember the whole thing…)
Sometimes my memory is so very bad that I start to worry a little…then I forget about it and the worries go away. ( = I have forgotten the words to songs while singing a solo, I’ve forgotten my kids’ names, I’ve forgotten that I was supposed to teach children’s church until the kids reminded me on Sunday! But the one area that my memory seems to function perfectly is in remembering the wrongs people have done to me.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have (technically) forgiven these people for what they have done but every time I see them, hear their name or drive by their house all the hurt and anger comes flooding back. I want to talk about the hurt they have caused me so others can get angry for me and think I’m a wonderful person for being able to forgive such horrible actions. In order to keep from feeling guilty about this I like to remind myself that I have forgiven but that it is humanly impossible to actually forget what has happened and that surely God does not expect me to FORGET in order to fully forgive! But God would not let me get away with that line of thinking. He reminded me that He chooses not to remember my sin when He forgives me. As if that wasn’t enough, He used one of my favorite blogs to hit me over the head again. The blog was about continuing to forgive. In it was a quote by Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross. Once when Ms. Barton was reminded of a vicious deed someone had done to her years before, she acted as if she’d never heard of the incident. “Don’t you remember it?” her friend asked. “No,” came Clara’s reply. “I distinctly remember forgetting it.”
Each and every day I must choose to forgive and I must remember to forget. Stop rehearsing it, stop playing the martyr, stop rolling around in it, letting it stink up every part of my life and ministry. So I’m choosing to continue to forgive AND to forget by letting it go. Instead, I’m going to focus on REMEMBERING what God has done. In order to push out the bad memories, I’m going to work on filling my thoughts with good memories. One of my favorite David Crowder Band songs says, “When the shadows fall on us, we will not fear, we will REMEMBER!” Remember who God is, remember what He has done, remember His faithfulness, His blessings, His love. Allow those memories to fill your mind and push those bad memories so far to the back that you will have to dig deep to remember them.
Hopefully you’ll still remember your kids’ names after you do this…but even if you don’t you’ll still be a better, more content person, so they won’t mind too much. ( =