THE GRACE OF FORGETTING
     From Twenty-Five Sunday Mornings with
      Samuel Chadwick
THE GRACE OF FORGETTING
From Twenty-Five Sunday Mornings with Samuel Chadwick.
VOL. 2 NO. 06 FEBRUARY 2000

Selected and Arranged by D. W. Lambert .

"One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14

We need grace to forget. We are often exhorted to remembrance and warned against the snare of forgetting, but it is as important we should forget as that we should remember. A tenacious memory has been the undoing of many a student, and the remembrance of things that ought to be forgotten has brought paralysis and despair to many a soul. Joseph thanked God that He had made him forget, and the Apostle Paul speaks of forgetting as a condition of progress. Preachers manifest great anxiety lest the Apostle should be misunderstood, and exhaust themselves in warning us against what he did not mean. Of course, there is a sense in which no man can ever forget his past, nor is it desirable he should. As the years of our pilgrimage increase, we dwell with grateful recollection upon the wonders and mercies of the way. We delight to recall the days of God's right hand, and to tell of all His grace and power. Such remembrance strengthens faith, and kindles the fire of God in the soul. But memory does not always inspire. Sometimes it fastens on to the wrong things. The past may be so remembered as to paralyze the present and imperil the future. We may brood over its failures and losses till the spirit within us droops and dies. There are saints of God who go mourning all their days in the remembrance of past sin and folly. There is neither strength nor joy in their souls, because they lack the grace to forget.

God Forgets

There is no grudging remembrance of the sin He forgives. "I, even I, am He that BLOTTETH OUT thy transgressions for Mine own sake; and I will not remember thy sins." To the sinner who turns to God He gives the assurance that "none of his sins that he hath committed shall be remembered against him". So completely does He forgive that He casts all our sins into the depths of the sea. Nothing could be more absolute. If He blots out, why should we be careful to remember? An old river bargeman used to quote Micah whenever he gave his experience: "'Into the depth of the sea'! Think of it? The devil has often offered me his dredging tackle to see if I couldn't fish them up again, but I always decline them with thanks." The Lord threw them in. Let us be content to let them lie. It is pitiable to see some people's morbid distress over their past. God has forgiven them, but they think they are somehow honoring God by mournful recollection. Do not brood and mourn -- forget and sing. He forgets -- why should we recall? If we believe in the forgiveness of sins, let us not torture our souls with useless and needless gloom. Forget the things which are behind. Leave sin where He has placed it -- under the blood of the Cross. Fruitless Regrets

In every life there are serious losses. When the opportunity has been missed we discover its value. Much of our wisdom arrives too late. Our track may be traced by the milk we spill. The loss ought to steady the hand and discipline the mind, but in some people it only gets on the nerves. If they had only discerned more truly and acted more wisely, how different life would have been! They sit down and fret over what might have been, unconscious that all the while other opportunities are slipping by. Forget past chances, and bend your back to the one at your feet. The inspiration has gone out of some hearts because they could not forget.   (continued in next column)

Some sore trial swooped suddenly upon them, and they have never rallied. Bereavement often leaves the soul stunned. The memory haunts the graveyard, seeking the living among the dead. We do not honor our dead by such remembrance, and we greatly dishonor God. Hankering after things irrevocable unfits for present duty and is an end of all progress. Joseph thanked God that He had made him forget not only his toil, but also his father's house. Of course, he never forgot his home, but it ceased to hold him captive. The bride should not be always wanting to go home, and husbands should not be always wanting their mothers. There should be a limit to home-sickness. Life should be so filled with present duty and noble purpose that its attraction should be in the future, not in the past.

Forget The Triumphs

Our successes may be so remembered as to be a greater peril than our failures. Every triumph ought to inspire a new hope, but sometimes success calls a halt. It creates a standard to which we are content to work. A great achievement may be our undoing,. if we do not forget. We had better burn what satisfies us, or we shall never get beyond it. The best is always ahead. We are saved by hope. We are lost when we have to look behind us for the best that is in us. The moment we have a reputation to live up to we are undone. Forget the things which are behind. Forget the years with their record of folly and failure, in the grace of God's forgetting. Forget the missed opportunity and the lost prosperity, in the sense of God's wisdom and love. Forget every past success in the inspiration of a greater hope. Keep a broad back to the past, and a full face to the appointed goal. Let us shake off all slackness and repining, and gird ourselves for the things that remain. It is a good thing when by grace we forget.


QUOTE UNQUOTE

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer's praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of his grace!
-- Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

What are we sure of but the Bible? -- John Wesley (1703-1791)


The editor, while agreeing with the content presented in this newsletter, does not necessarily endorse all of a writer's works, doctrines, etc. The editor is solely responsible for all mistakes.


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