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Summary: Spiritual amnesia is forgetting the blessings of God. Here are four symptoms of this shameful malady.

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Spiritual Amnesia

Luke 17:11-19

Amnesia is a strange condition that involves a partial or total loss of memory. It may occur as the result of one of the following:

¡õ a blow to the head

¡õ psychic trauma

¡õ Alzheimer¡¯s

¡õ too much alcohol or narcotic use

Sometimes it is temporary and the memory slowly returns. Almost all of us have experienced it to some degree, especially when it is convenient. For example:

¡õ We forget to pay that debt

¡õ We forgot to keep that appointment

¡õ We forgot about that commitment

¡õ We forgot to pick up after ourselves

¡õ We forgot to take out the garbage

But seriously, there are cases on record in which the victim forgot his own name and address and family. The victim could not recall any significant event that occurred before the affliction appeared.

Did you hear about the young husband who forgot he was married? According to a newspaper account his bride became very upset and burned their dinner the night after their honeymoon. Her first flop was understandable, however because her mate was three hours late getting home from the office. He had absent-mindedly failed to recall that he was married and had gone to his mother¡¯s home instead.

In the spiritual realm as well, people are prone to suffer from a similar condition. Let me suggest four symptoms that issue from this passage in Luke 17.

1. They Forgot the Lord¡¯s Past Mercies

Such was the case with these nine lepers. They got so caught up in the healing that they forgot the Healer! How soon we forget.

Why did only one cleansed leper return to thank Jesus? The following are nine suggested reasons why the nine did not return:

One waited to see if the cure was real.

One waited to see if it would last.

One said he would see Jesus later.

One decided that he had never had leprosy.

One said he would have gotten well anyway.

One gave the glory to the priests.

One said, "O, well, Jesus didn’t really do anything."

One said, "Any rabbi could have done it."

One said, "I was already much improved."

Charles L. Brown, Content The Newsletter, June, 1990, p. 3.

Please notice that the one who did return to express gratitude was a Samaritan!

Illustration: ¡°One Thank You Note to Santa¡±

A postal employee opened and read the mail which come to the Dead Letter Office in Washington, D.C. And was addressed to Santa Claus. In the three months before Christmas, there were thousands of letters asking for something. In the months after Christmas, there was only ONE card that was addressed to Santa Claus to express thanks.

How quick we are to ask and receive. How slow we are to speak the magic word: THANKS! What does this say about our culture?

Have you ever noticed how at Christmas and birthdays, when children are presented with a gift, how quick they are to grab it and run? And if that attitude isn¡¯t corrected in childhood, parents succeed in producing adults that are basically thankless.

What are the blessings of God that we should constantly remember? The list is endless¨Cmercy, grace, salvation, forgiveness, peace, joy, and on and on. We need to heed the words of the Psalmist as expressed in Psalm 103: ¡°Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.¡±

The second symptom of spiritual amnesia is...

2. Allowing Present Troubles to Block Out the Love of God

It¡¯s the old, ¡°What have you done for me lately God¡± syndrome.

Quote: ¡°Though behind us lay the gift of the cross, the miracle of the resurrection and ascension, the care exercised by God over our early years, we are disposed to doubt God¡¯s power today.¡±

- F. B. Meyer

We must not allow the disturbing memories of the past to keep us in the place and gloom. Paul said it best when he wrote, ¡°For getting the things which are behind, I press...¡± This is the place where a bit of amnesia is good.

A third contributor to spiritual amnesia is...

3. Forgetting the Many Promises Made

Promises made in secret to God¨Cto love Him and serve Him and always remain faithful to Him.

Promises made in the open to God and others¨Cmarriage vows, baptismal vows, church membership vows.

They have become empty promises, hallow vows, devoid of meaning.

Psalm 116:14: ¡°How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people.¡±

Many of us are guilty of having made promises to God when we were in an emotional state, caught up in the joy of the moment¨Cmaking a crisis-centered commitment only to experience spiritual amnesia shortly thereafter. Some seem to think of God as a kind of ¡°spare tire¡±¨Cforgotten for months until suddenly on the road of life, they have a flat.

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