Sunday, October 02, 2005

Forgive and forget?!

I'm so sick of my Sunday School class! For some bizarre reason, my Pastor saw fit to create a "Christian singles" class; apparently to help singles to confront relationship issues that may impede their growth in Christ. On paper, the idea sounds good. But if you sat in my class for ten minutes, you'd hate it as much as I do! Don't get me wrong, I'm all for Sunday School meeting needs. But, it can only go so far in planting that seed. At some point, the people in the class have to make effort as well.

One of the central themes in my "I can't find a mate" class (predominately female, which should tell you something...), is "Well, I just can't forgive him for what he's done to me, yada, yada, yada". I have a huge problem with the way they seem to tackle this issue.

Although the Bible never uses the phrase "forgive and forget", it's filled with scriptures commanding us to forgive one another. If we don't forgive others, we not only reap bitterness, but we lose out on our eternal rewards (I don't know about you, but I want as many rewards as possible once I get to Heaven). Simply put, forgiveness is a decision of the will. Besides that, God wouldn't give us a commandment to forgive if He didn't equip us with the ability to do just that!

Now, the idea of 'forgetting' is a little more complicated, but not really. We're not responsible for literally forgetting stuff, since none of us can selectively 'delete' stuff from our memory. Instead, we "forget" wrong-doing against us by treating it, and the person who did it, as if it never happened. In Hebrews 8:12, God promises not to remember our sins if we ask for forgiveness. But since God is ALL-KNOWING, how does he forget our sins? The truth is, He doesn't. He just doesn't hold them against us if. If we go to Him in humility, seeking His forgiveness, and holding firm in the belief that He will forgive us, then...well, He forgives us! There's no need to sacrifice animals, cut ourselves up to pieces, or starve ourselves to look like Lara Flynn Boyle. The only caveat to receiving God's forgivenss is (1) to confess your sins, (2) ask Him for forgiveness and (3) believe on Him. Sweet, huh?!

At this point, although our sins have been forgiven, the job isn't quite over yet. Just as God forgives us, we, likewise, are to forgive those who have sinned against us. In that respect, we are to "forget" their sins as if they never happened. Ephesians 4:32 reminds us to be kind to one another and to forgive one another...just as Christ forgave us. The parable of the unforgiving servant always seems to come to mind (I'll be writing on this one pretty soon). How can we expect God to forgive us for ALL THE JUNK that we've done against Him if we can't forgive those who do wrong against us?!

My advice to my "I can't find a mate" classmates is: maybe instead of concentrating on finding a mate, we all should learn to forgive...


6 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

Rebecca said...

Not entirely the subject of your post, but it reminded me of a recent conversation with a friend. Why is it that people look at singles as almost a disease? It is such and incredible time and gift ( not that it is without struggles, but hey). I have a number of friends who are single and FINE with that, we just can't figure out why people think they are just waiting for that "next step".

Andre said...

I totally agree with you. While I think that relationships, in their best forms, can do wonders for a person, I think it's equally as important for a person to be able to validate themselves as a single. People put so much of a premium on being in a relationship that they lose sight of the importance of personal development. Being single is the time for your establish yourself without the restraints of considering someone else. You have the chance to travel, to trek on a career path, go to school...essentially, to experience life. This is not to say that you can't do these things in a relationship as well. It just becomes a little more difficult to piece all of these things together.

From experience, I can say that there are a tons more things worse than being single!

tiny_tot said...

I disagree with both of you. God wants us all to have a mate. There's someone out there for everybody.

Why else would God have created Even for Adam

Andre said...

Thank you for your comments. To tiny_tot, I don't think you understand my point. Being single can be just as much of a gift as being married. It all depends on who you are.

As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:7-8, he got along fine without marriage. God gives some people the gift of marriage, and the gift of singleness to others.

Although it seems like just about everybody gets married these days, they may not be in God's will. That's why you see so much divorce. Paul was able to devote his whole life to God's work without the stresses of marriage/family life. Some people, however, can serve God as a family. Both kinds of people are equally important.

Friendly said...

Being single is a time for us to develop oursleves and prepare to receive our mate. God gives us choices in everything we do. The greatest choice he gave us was the choice to accept or reject him. The Bible teaches us that man was not meant to be alone, that's why he created woman. Most single people who have had bad relationships in the past, tend to get so afraid of allowing someone into their life they begin to use God's word or what God did in someone else's life to justify their unwillingness to maintain a relationship. God had a specific plan in mind for Paul, we can not say just because Paul was single and happy that this is okay for the rest of us, no that is okay for Paul. Did God say that he was happy with Paul being single or did Paul say this? Stop hiding behind what you really feel in your heart, and allow Love to grace your presence. You deserve it.

Andre said...

Thanks for your comment Friendly. But, I still don't think I'm making my point clearly enough. Let's try this again:

If you go back to the scripture that I pointed out in 1 Cor. 7:7-8, Paul (whose teachings were INSPIRED by God) pointed out the fact that while marriage is good, it's not necessarily. He got along fine with out it. True, the bible says that "he that findeth a wife findeth a good thing". But it DOES NOT SAY "a 'necessary' thing. There's a huge difference.

I think that before we place too high of premium on marriage, we need to devote ourselves...our WHOLE living for God. Paul believes that he could not have been as great of a messenger as he was if he had been married. If God thought otherwise, I'm sure He would have revealed it to him. Do you really think that God would have INSPIRED Paul to say that if it didn't hold SOME kind of truth?

While some people function well as singles, others function well as couples and families. Again, both kinds of people -- married AND single -- are important.

The Bible never identifies singleness as a sin. The most important things in life don't surround finding mates or raising families. Rather, the most important move we can make in our life is accepting God and offering ourselves to His service. We need to understand that forming PERSONAL relationships with God is the key to our salvation...not with each other. Having a mate is an 'added bonus' (though, not in every case...) If we ask God to reveal Himself to us, He will respond (Matthew 7:7).