Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Forget Me Not

Just as an addendum to my previous post on forgiveness, repentance, and reconciliation, I want to briefly touch again on the issue of "forgiving and forgetting."

As I said, forgetting someone's sin is practically impossible. And when we urge an offended person to "forgive and forget" we are really asking them to do two different things, the easiest of which is very difficult by itself.

I wonder if forgetting is overrated. It would be great if we could forget past hurts; it would certainly make forgiving those hurts easier. But in personal relationships, I don't think grace is "forgiving and forgetting" so much as it is forgiving with total recall. Grace given from me to you is not forgetting your sin; it is forgiving despite your sin.

Grace can be about remembering you wronged me but acting as if you hadn't.

This does not mean there are no relational adjustments to be made. I can treat my daughter as if she never opened up the coffee canister and "made a beach" with its contents, but I will still put the coffee out of her reach.
A husband may treat his wife as if she'd never run their family into debt with online spending sprees, but he can still cancel her credit cards. A wife may treat her husband as if he never had a problem with Internet porn, but she can still install a filter and monitor his browsing.

God spared Cain and gave him a new direction, but He still marked him.

To that extent, discipline is not the absence of grace. Discipline is grace; it is part of the Bible's whole counsel on grace.
We've got to get beyond this cheap sentimentality masquerading as grace. If we want to be bearers of God's grace, we have to stop behaving as if grace doesn't exist to cover sin that is real.


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