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CHAPLAIN: 3 Things to Forget

By Allen Teal, Chaplain

“I forgot.” How many times have you said or heard these words? Human memories are far from infallible. I know of a man who forgot to go to a memory competition after spending weeks preparing. While we mark things for remembering, some need forgetting.

“God has made me forget all my hardship.” (Genesis 41:51, ESV).

Joseph said these words following the birth of his first son. In Genesis, his brothers threw him in a pit and sold him into slavery. Years later in Egypt, God blessed him with power, wealth and a family. To enjoy the bounty he had received, Joseph needed to put the past behind him. God helped him to forget the hardships created by his brothers. Any leftover bitterness and resentment evaporated as he forgave past wrongs. When you forgive, you must be willing to forget.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. (Isaiah 43:18, NIV).

Time only runs in one direction. We can only visit the past in our memories. Wanting things to be the way they were is rarely a productive use of our time or ability. It may sound cliché, but the past really is the past. Retrieving lost wealth and health is impossible. In time, you may rebuild wealth and recover your health. These require you to keep moving forward. Learn the lessons that the past teaches and forget your failures and mistakes.

One day should not negatively alter a lifetime.

Certain days stand out in our memories. Big events like the death of a loved one, a sudden large loss of property or a major embarrassment can affect a person for a long time. In the pop song, “Bad Day,” one line says, “Sometimes … the whole thing turns out wrong.” Technically, you cannot forget a bad day. You can forget the depth of the pain or disappointment. Living a life based on “what might have been” is a recipe for unhappiness. Listen to the wisdom, born from enduring many bad days, of the Apostle Paul, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” (Philippians 3:13b, NIV).

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