Some individuals teach that you should forgive and forget. This teaching is correct within specific guidelines, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t talk among friends about what you did wrong. Without community, you may repeat the sinful behavior.
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A best-case scenario when you sin against someone should go like the following, with the last point as the crucial one if you want authentic, long-lasting change.
- I sinned against you.
- Will you forgive me for (name the specific sin)?
- And I want you to talk to me about what I did because I want you to help me not to do it again.
Remembering the Past
There have been many times in my Christian experience where I was encouraged by my friends who remembered my past sins. Those friends know me the best, love me the most, and want to help me stop sinful patterns.
My wife is another great example of this idea in my life. I have sinned against her more than any other human, which is why it’s imperative for us to talk about my sins so I can enlist her discipleship care. The upside for her is apparent: I stop sinning against her.
Imagine going to the doctor for a recurring problem, and every time you see your doctor, you have to remind him why you are there because he never remembers. A helpful doctor not only treats your problems but he keeps a record of them so he can help you in a preventative way. Remembering your past is an effective way to care for you in the future.
My Wife Remembers My Sin
Forgiving and forgetting is the right thing to do as long as your “forgetfulness” does not remove you from helping the imperfect person from overcoming bad patterns, which is why it’s immensely important to me that Lucia remembers my sins.
And that she is ready and willing to be there in those “tempting moments” where I may sin again. It would be hard for her to serve me effectively if she had “sin amnesia.” I need for her to know my tendencies, weaknesses, and temptations.
Helping me overcome my sins is one of the most effective ways she can imitate Christ to me. It would be foolish to waste what she knows about me by mandating that she not talk with me about the unsavory side of my life.
I Remember My Wife’s Sin
And the same goes for her too. Recently, we were running errands, and she seemed irritated toward the children. I asked her if she was sinning in her heart. I did not know if she was, and I did not want to assume that she was, so I asked her.
If you see someone bleeding, do you ignore them or seek to help them? She said she was sinning. She further stated that she was tired and the children were too much of a temptation. She thanked me for the observation about her.
Lucia humbled herself and repented of her sin. And that was that.
Supposed I was unwilling to serve her at that moment. How unkind. Imagine the accumulative effect of not helping your spouse redemptively. She would become an angry old person, and the children would be affected long-term because nobody was willing to love their mother enough to help her.
Friends Don’t Let Friends Sin
One of the reasons many couples do not do this is because they have a high view of themselves and a low view of sin. Biblically, this is called self-righteousness.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. –Proverbs 27:7
We need to get over ourselves while pursuing one another with redemptive affection. We need friends who are willing to step up to the plate and love us biblically.
Thankfully, God has been kind to us to bring a few individuals into our lives who are faithful and loving enough to wound us. This worldview is how we’re training our children.
They can submit to us and disciple us at the same time. Submitting to a higher authority does not have to negate redemptive opportunities among coequal image bearers.
A wife, for example, can submit to her husband while helping him mature in Christ as his coequal. She is both submitted and equal at the same time. Children can do similarly. Employees can submit and be coequal to their employers too.
Tips on Considering Others
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. – Hebrews 10:24
The vital key is how you invite your friends into your life and bring up your observations about them. Here are ten things to consider as you follow the Hebrew writer’s advice.
Thinking About Yourself:
- You keep the glory of God as first importance in all your endeavors.
- You recognize that your sanctification is a lifelong process.
- You see the value of revealing your life to competent friends.
- You invite your closest circle of friends to speak honestly about your life.
Thinking About Others:
- You’re not omniscient; perhaps you do not see everything correctly.
- You hold your observations loosely because you could be wrong.
- You keep the log firmly planted in your eye when correcting someone.
- Your sins against Christ are more significant than what you observe in others.
- You never bring up another’s sins in a punitive way.
- Your goal is always to disciple the person, not hurt them.
Also published on Medium.