Keith Wishum: Things worth forgetting
What do you call a man who remembers his anniversary and his wife’s birthday, but who can’t remember the last time his wife made a mistake?
You should call him smart. And happy! Some things, it’s best not to remember.
Can you remember all the times in the past month that your children have let you down? Do you recall all of the times your spouse has hurt you? Can you recite the ways your co-worker or fellow student has mistreated you?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you are too typical, and your memory is too good.
“Love does not remember wrongs done against it,” (1 Corinthians 13:5, NCV). Love forgets. We are sometimes razor sharp at remembering every past failure of others and at reciting their sins to them, but that’s not what love does.
Love says, “Let it go! Forget it!” Remembering a wrong only hurts the one who stores the memory. It’s like being stung repeatedly by the same bee but refusing to release it.
So, how do we stop remembering wrongs? Perhaps by filling our memory with other things instead. Try remembering these when you’re tempted to remember someone’s mistakes:
1. Remember the golden rule: I should do to others what I want them to do to me. If I want people to forget my mistakes and not hold them against me, I must be willing to offer the same grace to them.
2. Remember the eternal consequences. God tells us plainly regarding forgiveness, “with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1). If I want God to forgive and forget, I choose the amount based on how much I extend to others.
3. Remember personal sin. How can I be hard on others when I have so many flaws of my own? When I ask, “How could he do that to me?” I should remember the he can do that the same way I sometimes do unkind things to others.
4. Remember the cross. Jesus did not deserve his death on the cross. It was not fair. It was cruelty driven by hatred. Yet his dying plea was, “Father, forgive them.” To follow him is to forgive others.
5. Remember that without love, we are nothing. And forgetting the wrongs of others is part of what love does.
Let’s remember to love, and forget the wrongs.
A Word from Williams Road is provided by the Williams Road Church.