Forgetting is not about Forgetting

This Sunday, 12 Oct 2008, my church, Petra Church, started its Services at the new place in Toa Payoh. Messages and Song shared by many, Pastors, Elders, member were about God would be doing new things and about forgetting the past. This trigger the meditation about what is forgetting. For the most part, the Bible is about remembering - the laws, the goodness of God, the testimonies, etc. Artifacts were created to help people to remember the past. What then is forgettting? What and How to forget ?

The surest way not to forget something is to tell you to forget that thing. Forgetting is then not about forgetting but something deeper - it is about learning from and remembering the past.

The effective way to forget something is to do the following two things together:
  1. Bring Closure to the past hurts and even victories
  2. Look Forward
Life is about moving forward. We can't undo the past but we can influence the outcome of the future by taking action now. Paul's teaching in Php 3:13-14 is not about merely about forgetting the past, but about not letting the past stopping us from going forward.

Php 3:13-14 ... but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark ....

A better translation of the verse is from God's Word :

This is what I do: I don't look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal

The meaning of 'forgetting the past' is about 'not looking back' or ' not to continue to live in the past' and is not about forgetting the past which is not possible anyway.

There are two ways that kept us living the the past
  1. Past hurts or failure:
    Causing us to live in self-pity mode, to be pessimistic, to keep to oneself, to withdraw from life and progress.
  2. Past Success:
    Causing us to want to relive the good old days, complaining about the present, and unable to make changes for future.
The solution then is to bring closure to the past events and the accompanied experience of hurts or joy. Closure comes about by
  1. facing and admitting the hurts
  2. figuring out the lessons to learned - about people, methods used, wrong beliefs, ourselves etc.
  3. forgiving oneself or others
  4. storing the knowledge learn into our memory banks
  5. look forward
The key to remove the regrets and only-ifs. In the context of Php 3:13, we can see that Paul bring closure to his past accomplishments - circumcised, pure Jewish blood, Pharisee, blameless before the laws, and failure - persecution of the church. He was able to bring closure his so-called victories because he compare them with the knowledge of Christ - his victories were superficial - He counted them as dung. He did not got stuck in self-pity mode - the worst sinner because of his persecution of the church - He is not worthy to be a Christian at all. His breakthrough in understanding comes in "Php 3:9 and to have a relationship with him. This means that I didn't receive God's approval by obeying his laws. The opposite is true! I have God's approval through faith in Christ. This is the approval that comes from God and is based on faith."

New understanding of God's Truth set us free from the bondage of our past - failures or successes. Let our past failures and hurts be healed with understanding and by God. Let our past true successes cause us to be grateful and to encourage us to have greater faith in a loving God to move forward.

Jesus in Rev 2:5 tell us to "Remember how far you have fallen. Return to me and change the way you think and act, and do what you did at first".

This does not conflict with Paul's Php 3:13 because it was about facing our failure and learning from it that enables not to look back and to look forward.

Joseph brought closure to his past betrayers by his brothers, Potiphar, Cup Bearer etc. He said they meant evil but God meant it for good.

The 2nd step of looking forward also help us in bringing closure to the past. Painting a better vision for the future will encourange us to put the past aside, especially when you see how the past events help you create and build a better future. 2 Cor 1:4-5 our sufferings allow God's comfort and our ability to comfort others. Many new businesses were started because the ideas of the founders were rejected by their employers. Failures are the stepping stones to success.

Forgetting is not about forgetting but about admiting, learning, forgiving & healing and moving forward.

No comments: