Society puts great emphasis on the ability to remember. People with good memories tend to excel in many areas of business and self development. Millions of dollars are spent on supplements and techniques to enable us to recollect facts and events. But the opposite quality is at least equally critical to the spiritual life. That’s the capacity to forget.
The greatest New Testament character (after Jesus), named the habit of forgetting as one of his greatest attributes. In a letter to friends, Paul stated that he couldn’t claim to have reached his goal, but at least he was able to forget the things that were behind him. That, he said, enabled him to look ahead and pursue the prize promised by God.
Memories often contain negative baggage. When I dwell on the things I’ve done wrong or wish I would have done better, or when I ponder how I feel others have let me down, I get stuck in a rut. Better to lay it aside and move on. At the root of this lack-of-recall skill is love, which the Bible says allows me to forget the wrongs I’ve suffered … at my own hand or from other people.
“Forget” is a verb. Forgetfulness is an intentional act of my will, and one that will help me on the journey of faith. I’m going to do my best to remember that.