Vol.IV No.II Pg.5
April 1967

The Blessings Of Forgetting

Robert F. Turner

Are you proud of your memory? Are you anxious to show folk how you can recall the little details of long ago? Not me! Maybe I'm seeking justification for my weak mind, but I find reason to be proud of my forgettery. I believe there are blessings in forgetting -- and my wife says I am of all men most blessed.

The Preacher said to remember the Creator in youth -- before the evil days come -- when the clouds return after the rain. (Eccl.12:1-2) In good days the clouds appear, it rains, and it is all over. But there comes a day when "the clouds return after the rain". Our troubles will not depart. And sometimes they stay because we will not let them depart -- we recall, and relive them, over and over. It is a wise, and happier man, who knows when and how to forget.

Joseph had been ill treated by his brothers -- sold into slavery. He could have dwelt upon this injustice, growing more and more bitter -- and finally have allowed it to wreck his own life and that of his people. But when his first-born, Manasseh, came, Joseph said, "God hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house." (Gen. 41:51)

"Forgiving" contains that sort of forgetting. Jesus said, "If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses". When Peter asked how often he should forgive his brother, Jesus gave the indeterminate number, "Until seventy times seven." (Matt. 6:15 18:22) One has not truly forgiven who buries the hatchet, but sets up a marker so that it may be easily exhumed. The facts of the past may remain, as they did for Paul, but the bitterness, and any desire for vengeance we may have felt, must vanish.

Paul said, ".forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:13-f) No one can build a glorious future by wallowing in a sordid past. God forgives -- and He calls it "remission" (Acts 2:38) or cancellation. "Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." (Heb. 10:17) God has a good forgettery when such is in order. Do we propose to know more than He about these matters? Oh ye of little faith!!

Many years ago I knew a couple who were deeply hurt by the indiscretion of one. The man, in the wrong, pled for forgiveness -- to no avail. The woman freely acknowledged, "My pride has been wounded -- I can not forget." I fully believe this was a case where a sharp memory was a curse -- and a forgettery would have been a blessing.

God has endowed us with the capacity to forget. A hot, dusty, insect-filled, flat-tire, hard-work fishing trip soon boils down to the fun we had catching that bass -- the hardship part is forgotten. Wouldn't life be more fruitful if we would apply our forgettery to personal bitterness, little "digs" and "slights" that begin with pride, and feed on acid rehearsals? Christ died to give us a way to get rid of sin. Must we live trying to find a way to keep it??