Forgetting – we all do it
Forgetting. How many times every week do we hear, or say, the words “I forgot”? It’s a common response when we have failed to do something isn’t it? Sometimes it is true – we really did forget. More often it’s just an excuse. It’s truly amazing how regularly kids ‘forget’ to do the dishes or put their clothes in the laundry basket or feed the cat (or lizard), but remember things they like in minute detail! In truth, we adults are not so different, are we?
Is forgetting a brain issue or a heart issue?
‘Forgetting’ to do something often says more about what we value and place priority on than it does about our memory. The lapse is not in our brains but in our hearts! When we are motivated by self-interest we will tend to prioritise things according to what suits us best and meets our needs. Gratitude, self-sacrifice, compassion and service can go missing. Often, ‘forgetting’ is not forgetting at all; it is a sub-conscious choice that reflects where our heart is at.
What kind of issue did the unmerciful servant have?
There’s a parable in the Bible that illustrates this. It’s about a servant who owed the king so much money that he would never be able to repay it in his lifetime. The king ordered that the man himself, plus all his family and all his possessions be sold to cover the debt… (Think about that!) The servant pleaded with the king not to do this and the king was moved to forgive the debt.
Soon after, that same servant met someone who owed him a very small amount of money. He demanded payment and even began to choke the man. Just as the servant had done earlier, the man pleaded with the servant to give him time to pay. The servant was unmoved and sent him to prison. (Matthew 18:23-33).
It seemed that the servant had already ‘forgotten’ the compassion and generosity of the King in forgiving him his huge debt. It had made no impact on his heart, only on his pocket!
We so easily forget that God forgave us our huge debt
We too can be forgetful about the lavishness of God’s grace, mercy and compassion towards us, can’t we? We so easily forget that God forgave us our huge debt. Instead of requiring us to pay for our sin he demonstrated his love for us in freely sacrificing his only son, Jesus Christ in our place – and all this – while we were his enemies!
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Everything in our lives, and indeed our life itself, is a gift of grace from God. Instead of reflecting our gratitude to God by loving others and showing them a heart of generosity, we can tend to be like that ‘forgetful’ servant.
We should never hold others to a standard that we can’t meet. Our own need for mercy should ignite our merciful heart toward others. God’s forgiveness should lead us to forgive freely and frequently. Our desire for grace should have us choosing grace responses in all our relationships, especially when things are tough. Our own deep need being met in Christ changes everything, and especially can give us forgiving hearts.
As it says in Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate toward one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.”
Learn more about God, the heart and relationships and how this helps resolve conflict and bring peace to relationships
Why not come to PeaceWise training this year to learn more about the relationship between God, our hearts and our relationships with others – including how to breathe grace into difficult situations. You can start with our introductory course, Everyday Peacemaking.
And if you’ve already done this training, or are keen to go deeper, we have a brand new course this year – The Heart of Peacemaking.
See below for more details, and click the button for more event and registration details.