The Lord’s Discipline, Follow Up

Q. I think it is fair to say that all of us have buried memories and thoughts we would like to keep buried. Now, what if you’ve already taken them and given it to God? If those memories suddenly flood back because of an argument or event, is that God “doing something” with those memories for say, discipline to bring us closer to Him? I read in your post “The Lord’s Discipline” that discipline does not increase our fear but increases our love. But does the process include making us angry and hurtful?

A. Psychologists say that we can’t recall an event from our past with out experiencing some of the feelings that accompanied it. That’s why we call some memories pleasant while others are painful. Some Christians believe that if you haven’t forgotten a painful event, then you haven’t really forgiven the person who caused the pain.

I’m of the opinion that you can forgive without forgetting, and you can tell if that’s happened by the fact that you no longer experience the pain when you recall the event. If certain memories still bring back the pain that accompanied them, I believe it’s a signal that forgiveness has not taken place. If that’s the case, then at the very least your relationship with the Lord will not be what it was intended to be until you’ve truly forgiven the one who hurt you. But you could also be bringing other consequences upon yourself. Your emotional and physical health could also be affected. In Ephesians 4:26-27 Paul warned us about this.

“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”

Stored up resentment, whether justifiable or not, is perhaps the greatest threat to good spiritual, emotional, and physical health most of us will ever face.

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