Summary: “Forgive and forget.” Those words roll off our tongues with ease, but if we’re honest they don’t roll out of our hearts with ease. Forgiveness is a challenge and forgetting is downright impossible. But grace calls us to remember.
A. Jill Price is known as “The Woman Who Can’t Forget” – Hyper-thy-mesia –rare disorder
1. Means that she forgets nothing – every moment, every day – played out crystal clear
2. While such a memory might sound wonderful to us –trouble finding our keys – consider…
3. It’s not just that she can recall exactly what she was doing 20 years ago today – feels it
4. Every joy as well as every hurt. Husband died 10 years ago –relives hurt as though now
5. Intense clarity -every misspoken word, every mistake, every hurt – never forgets
6. For Jill Price time heals no wounds.
B. We say, “Forgive and forget” – and as a simple sentiment – it’s a good principle to live by
1. There are some hurts we’ve been through –best just to move on –forget –let time…
2. But then there are hurts –so deep –never forget –like Jill Price –played back –crystal
3. To the point that we start to wonder –if I cannot forget, then can I forgive? Move on?
4. Or am I so hurt that I will never heal?
C. I preached at a church many years ago –members came to me –concerns –Previous preacher
1. Taught them –If you haven’t forgotten –haven’t really forgiven –God can’t forgive you
2. There’s a lot of problems - line of thinking – first –Bible never says “forgive/forget”
3. God didn’t design you to forget – gave you a brain – memory – learn, grow
4. What we might need to do is learn how to use our memory to further his grace
D. ANNOUNCE TEXT: EPHESIANS 4:25-32 (page 978)
1. Before we get into the text itself – I want you to notice how Paul begins –verse 25
2. So, we’re stepping into the text with completed action –a change already taken place
3. What has caused the change? Put away falsehoods? – Read Ephesians 4:17-24
4. The call is to put off our old self –that self that not only sins –but holds onto hurts
5. And instead to put on Christ – what is that going to look like? In here (heart/church)
6. READ TEXT
E. Here’s what I don’t want to do today – I don’t want to minimize your hurts
1. Don’t want to tell you that your hurts aren’t that bad – because I’m sure they are
2. Not here to tell you to suck it up – get over it -What I’m here to tell you is – verse 32
3. That would NOT be in the Bible if it were not possible for you to do – get that?
4. God’s not just sitting up there writing stuff to tick you off – make you feel like a failure
5. And I want you to know –God wants you to forgive – and NOT forget – never forget
6. He did not design you to forget - He wants you to remember
Trans: In fact, we have to remember. We have to because:
I. FORGIVENESS IS A CHOICE
A. Timothy Keller – what forgiveness is – “A form of voluntary suffering”
1. Timothy Keller Quote.
When someone seriously wrongs you, there is an absolutely unavoidable sense that the wrongdoer owes you. The wrong has incurred an obligation, a liability, a debt. Anyone who has been wronged feels a compulsion to make the other person pay down that debt. We do that by hurting them, yelling at them, making the feel bad in some way, or just waiting and watching and hoping that something bad happens to them. Only after we see them suffer in some commensurate way do we sense that the debt has been paid and the sense of obligation is gone. This sense of debt/liability and obligation is impossible to escape. Anyone who denies it exists has simply not been wronged or sinned against in any serious way.
2. Let’s say that my friend has a clock – valuable clock – antique – worth $500
3. And I break it – give friend $500 – still don’t have the clock – debt still exists- I carry it
4. But if they forgive me – they cancel the debt and absorb it themselves
5. That is forgiveness – you choose to pay the debt yourself – “Voluntary suffering”
B. Forgiveness is a choice – whether it’s you and me forgiving each other –God/us
1. I think this is where we get confused with that whole forgive/forget stuff
2. Jer. 31:34 - For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more
3. Love to say, “God doesn’t remember my sins –forgets them” – does he?
4. We believe that God is all-knowing, right? Omniscient – how reconcile?
5. Truth is-doesn’t forget-not what that word means –legal word –courtroom