God has amnesia

No, not a headline from a web site, not a TV catch phrase to make you watch the next news segment, not even a tabloid exploitation topic.

“God has amnesia” comes from personal experience and some (painful) discoveries over the years. Over the past 60+ years, my thought was not that God has amnesia, but rather expressed itself in the form of two questions, “What were you, God?” and “Have you forgotten me, Lord?”

Yeah, this is so different from my usual posts. But in a deep way it relates to the heart of all the other posts. I hope you will indulge me for a little reflection on this.

“Where were you God?” when…

  • a friend died at 15 of a heart failure
  • I strove to earn my father’s favor or even a note of congratulation — that never came
  • we couldn’t have our own children
  • one of our children tried to commit suicide
  • our marriage seemed like we were pulling, but never in the same direction at the same time
  • one child was/is in prison
  • I made choices, finally grasping at straws, that were often wrong and with consequences
  • I grasped a last straw and it failed, too

Had you known me during those 50 years which encompass the above experiences, you might not have guessed what was going on with me. Why? Because I learned very early (like at five years old!) that I could put on a mask, a front, which shielded me from showing my hurt, pain, anger, frustration, and the unspoken “Have you forgotten me, Lord?”

I even thought I could keep myself from those. But that was the greatest deception. I was good at it, very good at hiding my inner self. Yet when all else had failed, then the mask had to come down. No longer could I hide.

Helping God remember…

I had gotten to the point where I wanted to reverse God’s amnesia, specifically related to my sins. After all, as I wallowed in grief and despair, I imagined and re-experienced every sin I could remember. And if I could remember, certainly God could! Well, God’s Law was certainly bringing to mind all my sins— his words of condemnation of my pride, my sins, my self-defense mechanisms. And I replayed every action and reaction and my “new course” based on what I discovered. But nothing could erase the sins and especially the memory of those sins.

That reinforced the idea that God had forgotten about me, but he had not forgotten about my sins! And that is the ultimate in despair. Either God had forgotten me or God didn’t care!

Few people who knew what was going on inside of me during that time, and so the loneliness hit even harder. Imagine, loneliness in the church?

God is cured!

In the prophecy about the new covenant, or better new testament, we read:

[The LORD declares:] “For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more”  (Jeremiah 31:34 ESV).

In his perfect timing, God raised up 2-3 people who pointed me back to Bible passages that I had taught them over the years. Now I needed to hear them, for me.

With God, forgiveness is always and only one sin old. When I confess and God forgives, the sin is not remembered by him, not ever. “As far as the east is from the west,” says the Psalmist. When Jesus corrects Peter (Matthew 18) about how many times, it’s as if he is saying, “If you are counting forgiveness, that means you are counting sins, and not forgiving.”

I loved to read and hear the Words of hope, love, compassion, and patience of our Lord. The Lord’s Supper (Jesus instituting the new testament in his body and blood, Matthew 26:26-28, etc.) became a precious invitation to remember God’s forgetfulness about my sin and receive his forgiveness.

For God had not forgotten me, but he had forgotten my sin!!! It isn’t God who is cured, but me, in Jesus Christ.

About exegete77

disciple of Jesus Christ, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, teacher, and theologian
This entry was posted in Personal Reflection, Tentatio. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to God has amnesia

  1. DJ Hughes says:

    I really appreciate the heart of this post. So honest. So vulnerable. While circumstances may vary, I believe we all experience that lonely place where we truly feel that God has forgotten us. I love how you penned those same thoughts here. God has not forgotten me, just my sin! Amen.

    “Forgiveness is always and only one sin old.” That’s a beautiful quote. I am going to remember that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. exegete77 says:

    Thanks, DJ. I have appreciated your blog and now your comments here.

    The longer I serve in the church, the more I discover that this is much more common than anyone wants to admit. I plan another post on the “hidden ministry” in our midst taking this as a starting point.

    Like

  3. Jennette Morrison says:

    Why is it that we feel the need to put on a mask and hide our hurts/pains from those around us that can show the love of Christ to us and help us through the tough times?

    I guess it can be traced back to our selfish nature causing us to be better than the next person and act as though life is perfect when it’s not.

    Thanks be to God for his gift of Christ who has made us perfect and knows all the good and bad we go through and loves us despite our imperfection.

    This post reminded of Eph. 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
    and Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

    The two main questions of this post are two questions I think a lot of people wrestle with but some don’t actually articulate or ask them aloud. Would be a great focus for a Bible study lesson!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. exegete77 says:

    Jennette, your questions are good. I think in addition to our self nature, some of us have been wounded deeply and it affects even how we see ourselves and our circumstances. I know that was true for me.

    I have written a four part study (for use in small groups), if you would like it. It is called The 4-R’s of Discipleship (eight week study, two weeks for each, but the groups that use them tend to take 3 weeks for each.

    Like

  5. Wow thanks for sharing this…it’s amazing how much God allows us to suffer and yet one day when we get to Heaven it will be SO glorious and SO beyond what we could have expected and/or cried over!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “With God, forgiveness is always and only one sin old. When I confess and God forgives, the sin is not remembered by him, not ever.” I love this line, and I love this post. Thank God He has amnesia. Thank you for your words.

    Liked by 1 person

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  10. Erma Elliott says:

    Thank you my friend for this post. Though we each may have different circumstances, your words apply to me and many others I’m sure. The insight here is so appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

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