To Forgive is not to Forget

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Had the rare opportunity to go home early last Monday. Caught the sunset. It was beautiful as usual; no haze could dampen those colors.

I’ve been thinking of the word ‘Forgive’ all week (among many other things I think about, haha). In the Christendom, we always say “forgive and forget”, or “you can only truly forgive when you truly forgotten.”

I often hear believers and even leaders say that one has never truly forgiven unless one has forgotten the others offenses. And for years I subscribed to this notion because there is much truth in it. The bible says in Isaiah 43:25 that God blots out our transgressions,  remembering them no more. As believers, we are called to be like Christ. That is to emulate Christ and His attributes. Jesus says as our sins are forgiven and He will even remember our sins no more (Hebrews 8:12), we are to do the same for our counterparts. The condition for our salvation, for our forgiveness is also to forgive others who have sinned against us. As such, we are to forgive and forget.

But is it? What if you’re a victim of abuse? What if you suffer a detrimental (financial or property) loss because of somebody? What if you lost a loved one to a murderer? What if you were dealt a great wrong from someone whom you used to trust? How is it right to demand of these victims to not just forgive that person, but to even forget his or her wrongdoing?

As a believer, I advocate forgiveness without a shadow of a doubt. To not forgive and to hate is to drink poison and hope the other person dies. However, I feel that forgiving someone doesn’t always have to be tied with forgetting his or her (grave) wrongdoing. There you have it, another contradicting statement by a Christian – me. But see, not everything is in shades of black or gallant white. In life, there’s a lot of grey and not everything can simply be segregated into black or white.

I picture myself as a victim of a great wrong, to forgive is hard enough. How can I actually forget?! When Jesus told Peter to forgive seventy times seven (an allegory to forgive always), He didn’t said anything about “forget seventy times seven.” Being a Christian is not to say that “I forgive you and will even forget the great wrong you have done to me. We can be bestest friends from henceforth and live life happily ever after.” We need to forgive, yes, no questions asked. But depending on the gravity of the wrongdoing, we forget not.

I remember an incident nine years ago – after being a believer for about 4 months, I raised my hand at a cell group meeting to ask God to help me to forgive a family member and to help me release the grudge I held against him. Tears rolled down my eyes as I was being prayed for. I thank God that when I was asked to forgive, He didn’t ask me to forget because a decade of wrong can’t simply be blotted out!

To the victim, the pain is real and it is not [easily] forgotten just when he or she wants to. I [would like to] believe that God knows and respects that we are imperfect and are unable to forget as He does. Everything that happens in our lives; the good and the bad, we can’t simply just delete these scenes from our lives like a video clip being edited on Windows Movie Maker. The irony of life is there will be the good, and there will be the bad moments where we might feel so indignant for the wrong done to us. But that is also the beauty of life, for the bad also serves to illuminate the good, to develop our character, to make us wiser peoples.

To forgive doesn’t mean we will forget the emotions and the pain that was felt as though it will just go away – it probably won’t. But being a Christian means we need to learn to forgive.

We forgive but we forget not – because what’s done cannot be undone or simply be swept under the carpet.

We forgive but we forget not – the pain that was felt cannot be erased, but the experience can be used to strengthen our heart and even to help someone else who went through a similar predicament (see Paul encouraging New Testament believers with his three-time shipwreck, snake biting, his receiving 195 stroke of the lashes, and multiple prison experience).

We forgive but we forget not – at one point we could still be friends on a very nominal level, but that’s as far as we can go.

We forgive but we forget not – so that we can also see how God has moved in our heart and through our heart to draw out mercy of such magnitude it is able to actually forgive the offender of the great wrong he or she has dealt to us.

We forgive but we forget not – so that we recognize that in our weakness we are made strong through Christ, to the point of even loving our offenders in spite of their trespasses against us.

But at the same time, we need to forget in some areas too.

We need to forget our vendetta against the offender.

We need to forget that the offender ‘owes’ us.

We need to forget how the wrong has caused us to hate, to be disillusioned about life and people, or to be cynical.

We need to forget how we thought that (this offender and) this offense will stop us from moving on with our lives.

We need to forget our condemning mindset that the offender will never change.

We need to forget, to disassociate and isolate the pain and offense away from the offender.

Even so, it is still difficult to just forgive our enemies. But Jesus says that we can obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16) to help us to forgive… and to forget.

There are so many people who need to forgive, and who need the Lord, but do not come before Him because they have a misconception that they need to forget in order to qualify. I wish I can tell you that God knows the pain you felt, He has also felt the pain you felt. God is not expecting you to forget that that ever happened. Let Jesus do the heavy-lifting, let Jesus do the forgetting. But Jesus does want us to forgive, Jesus does want us to ‘forget’ – to move on from the unfortunate incident and to live an abundant life.

Forgive abundantly, forget wisely. In all things, choose life, choose love.

Disclaimer: The contents in this entry is solely the writer’s thoughts and beliefs. It does not reflect the shared sentiments of any organization or community that the writer subscribes to and should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Notes from Rev. Dominic Yeo’s Service 15/3/14

WHEN THE BROOK DRIES UP

What is faith?
Faith is God’s currency in heaven
Activate your faith – Example: the woman with the issue of blood
Faith in reality is putting one’s weight upon.
Example: the four brothers who lied on one another without any chair

1 Kings 17:1-24(NIV)
The story of Elijah – you are walking in abundant blessings and suddenly the brook dries up

1. When the brook dries up, the heart of faith needs to know that God is up to something great.

Look at the indication of God’s past.
The past indicator of what God has done in your life is what He is going to do in your future.
David relied on the track record of God
Faith is putting your entire weight on who God is, on God’s character, on what He has done in the past, present and the future!

God wants us to grow up.
So that when the brook dries up, Elijah has to get moving – God moment.
The heart of faith knows that God is up to something great because He is pushing us out of our comfort zone.

2. When the brook dries up, the ears of faith must hear from God for a miracle

For a breakthrough.
V8
When the brook dries up, the prophetic word of God comes
It is God’s nature to communicate with us regardless if we have sinned or not
The ability to hear God’s voice has to do with your proximity with God.

God is not going to compete with your distractions.
You have to get into the place of proximity.
The place of proximity is the place of intimacy and revelation

3. When the brook dries up, the walk of faith takes us to the blessing

Zarephath – the place of evil: requires a lot of faith!!
The walk of faith usually takes you to unlikely places
God’s track record is an indication of what He will do

Faith is putting your entire faith on who God is.
Faith operates on God’s economy (not subjected to the world’s economy)

4. When the brook dries up, the eyes of faith sees the accomplished before it happens

1 Kings 17:13
Elijah saw the cake even before it happens.
The eyes of faith sees the accomplished work of God before it happens.
V12
The eyes of faith see what you have, and not what you do not have.
The eyes of faith sees what you wish for.
The eyes of faith see what we have in God.

Notes from Prayer Meeting 7/3/14

IMG_20140308_000910Personal notes taken during Sun’s sharing at prayer meeting, March 7, 2014.

How many of you have prayer requests when you are praying to God? How many of you believe in your prayers being answered? Do you truly believe in your prayers being answered?

7 Steps to Answered Prayers

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
John 14:13

Even though His ways are higher than our ways, He wants us to have our prayers answered
When our prayers are answered, the Father is glorified in the Son

“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.
John 16:23

When we received answered prayers, not only is the Father glorified, our joy will be full.
To be victorious in our Christian life, we need to know how to pray the way God wants us to pray.

Luke 11

Why are our prayers not answered while our friends’ is?

1. Be specific in your prayer

So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”
Mark 10:51

Jesus asked What do you want Me to do for you?

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Matthew 7:7

That means you can’t be general in your prayer
You can’t seek for something if you don’t know what you are looking for
To Jesus, every prayer must be specific.
You must decide what you want from God.
Every time you pray, and do your quiet time, you must ask what you want from God.

For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?
Matthew 7:8-10

When we pray specifically, God will grant our specific request.
Don’t be fearful.
Jesus says when you ask for bread, will I give you a stone? If you ask for a fish, would I give you a serpent? (Luke 11:11)
But you need to decide on what you want.

It is better to pray 2-3 minutes and know what you are praying for, than 2-3 hours when you don’t know what you are praying for.

Don’t pray to be religious or to fulfill a religious duty or obligation.
Don’t lock into passivity – ‘God’s will to be done’
Jesus will is to grant us specifically what we ask in His name.
So that our joy may be full.

For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
Matthew 6:32

He wants us to ask specifically because He wants to see our faith.

2. To pray according to the Word

The names of God is very important – above every other Name

<Knowing the Names of God is important and allows us to pray according to God’s attribute – as Joehovah Rapha, Jehovah Nissi, etc>

I will worship toward Your holy temple,
And praise Your name
For Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
Psalm 138:2

Heaven and earth will pass away, but His word will never pass away.
In the beginning was the Word

John 15:7 – …… MY WORDS abide in you…

When the word of God abides in us, our prayer will never be selfish or carnal.

I have a tummy ache versus In Jesus Name, I command this tummy ache to be gone. By His stripes I am healed…
Complaint versus prayer that is asked according to the Word of God in faith.

The simplest way to know God’s will is through the bible.

Faith comes by knowing and knowing by the Word of God.
If you have the faith to pray according to the will of God, you can have your pray answered.

Today if you would to pray with the Word of God in your prayer, if you were to pray according to the will of God, you will have faith to know that your prayer will be answered.

Faith is nothing but the purpose of the will resting on God’s Word and saying I must have it. To believe truly is to will firmly.
Andrew Murray

Find scriptures that definitely promise what you desire
Isaiah 49:4, 18 – a scripture given to Sun
Mark 4:15 – a scripture given to PK

<Both Sun and PK has a different scripture that they meditate on>

Sun prayed the Word of God.
So how do you go through a hardship? Find the scriptures that speak of the will of God.

3. Meditate God’s Word in your heart

Firmly fix it in your heart.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Joshua 1:8 – meditation has to do with your mouth

Hagah (Hebrew) to mutter – to say something to yourself utterly
As you keep saying this to yourself, the Word will move from your head to your heart.

Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God]Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]
Hebrews 13:5 (AMP)

What do we feel when we feel confused or fear gripped?
We meditate on the Word day and night!
You WILL NOT, You WILL NOT, You WILL NOT relax Your hold on us
Meditate on it in your heart

4. Use the Sword of the Spirit against Satan

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
Ephesians 6:17

Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
Matthew 4:3-4

IT IS WRITTEN.. IT IS WRITTEN.. IT IS WRITTEN..
Satan also knows the Word! (But) Jesus drew out the meditated sword of God from His heart (against Satan)

And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” 
Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
Matthew 4:9-10

What do you need from Jesus? Find your scripture, meditate on it, and use it in our warfare against Satan.

5. Fight the good fight of faith

6. Receive by faith

7. Continually thank God in advance for the answer

<To be continued on Sunday Prayer meeting>

Rain

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Rain speaks of times of refreshing, providence, abundance, victories, blessings, breakthroughs, whichever you need in your current time of need. The Bible says He has given us the former rain faithfully, that speaks of the ‘first fruits’ of blessings – past victories, blessings and breakthroughs. But you got to understand that that is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s just appetizer. The teaser of the banquet spread. God says I will bring the latter rain. That means God is not a one hit wonder. This is important because when we understand God’s character and intent, that helps give us a framework at how to do life and how that life will work out.

Most importantly, the latter rain speaks of fulfillment (of the promise). In the context of those days, farmers needed rain for their crops to grow. Hence all the talk about rain. The farmers plant their crops, the ‘former’ rain came, they reaped a bountiful harvest, but they then prepare the ground for another time of sowing – and reaping! They don’t ask if the ‘latter’ rain wouldn’t come. They have full assurance that the rain will come. Likewise, have the assurance that God will come true for you. His latter rain will come. But you need to make preparations for it too. Add God into the equation.

Fast, Forward, Fasting.

Fast Forward

‘Fast’ is defined as moving or able to move, operate, function, or take effect quickly (Dictionary.com). The act of being fast suggest movement; to move forward or advance to a certain something or destination. But I wonder how did it draw on a religious connotation?

Why is the abstinence from food for religious purposes called fasting?

A quick check on the etymology (origin) of the word found that the word ‘fast’ came from an Old English (Anglo-Saxon) term ‘fæstan’, which means to ‘hold firmly’. In laymen translation, ‘to observe’ can also be translated to ‘to fast’. Putting that aside, why do religions used the word ‘fasting’ to describe and mark the important occasion of consecration? Why can’t we use abstinence instead and save the hassle? Why ‘fast’?

In my own opinion, the act of fasting seems to bring out the essence of moving forward. There is a Chinese saying that goes “We rest so that we can go a longer distance.” Sounds kind of oxymoron; how do you make progress when you stop progress? But when we look at human biology, then it makes sense that we really do need rest to move forward.

Then it could and would make sense that as it (the notion of rest to go the distance) has been hardwired in our DNA and our biology that, the act of fasting – to abstain from food to reach for a divine experience or enlightenment – could really bring us forward. As we fast, we hold firmly to our beliefs, and in doing so, we move forward. Maybe that’s why the word ‘fasting’ was used to describe this important sacrament to consecrate one’s body. Fast as its name suggest highlights a movement forward. And to fast denotes a believer making a decision to abstain, to move forward.

Hence, it is vital that believers engage in the important activity of fasting, an act that in every essence highlights carnal abandonment, consecration of one’s body to a divine being, and the strengthening of faith [for a need or desire for something to come to pass].

Just like love, a father can sacrifice and give his best to show love; he doesn’t take. It is recorded in the Bible that battles of all kinds are won by bent knees and prayer (Hannah, Esther, Daniel, David, Elijah, Jesus), fasting (Daniel, Cornelius, Esther, David, Jesus) and the sound of trumpets-a vocal act of praise (Joshua, Jehoshaphat, David, Paul). The taking of victory is won by actions (Bent knees? Praying? Fasting? Praising?) that is absurd by human understanding. Why not fight fight fight? But that’s how it works in the Kingdom. Because there is a standard of procedure in the Kingdom and therefore, as believers and citizens we operate not by earth’s SOP but by heaven’s. God’s ways are higher than our ways, therefore we fight with weapons that are different but spiritual, different but powerful and mighty in pulling down strongholds.

Fast to move forward. And as we fast, we fast forward into the future and destiny God has set aside for us.

 

References:

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=fast

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fast?s=t

http://www.shadesofgrace.org/2012/01/12/fasting-day-6-following-the-footsteps-of-our-heroes/

http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=article&aid=20256

Conversations With Uncle Chandra (Part 1)

Last Friday after Good Friday service, tired as I am, I spent a good 20 minutes talking to the night guard, Chandra. Learnt so much from this fruitful and humbling conversation. Chandra shared that Jesus and Christianity is good and he respects that even though he is a Hindu. He revealed something new to me that back in the 1960s and 1970s, there used to be a public holiday for Easter Sunday too, thus stretching to ‘Easter Monday’, making it a long public holiday break. During those periods, car races were held and people had lots of fun both participating and spectating.

As we learnt about one another, Chandra shared that he was part of the first batch of soldiers trained by Israeli forces when SAF was just formed! How amazing was that? His son was an engineer, and a brilliant one who excelled during his time in MINDEF during his NS liability. He was the brains behind removing the ‘S’ when it comes to filling up data so that today we no longer need to key the extra ‘S’ when we want to key in our ID.

Chandra said that when I come to church, I need to come before Jesus with my feelings; my heart, I cannot just come to church like a religious obligation. By coming to Jesus with my heart, then only can I expect help from above. Many words was exchanged during the short conversation, and with it, life from a 60-year-old to a 24-year-old as well. I am blessed by this experience.

Before I left, he said today’s a Good Friday, and also a sad friday (because Jesus died). I replied, it’s okay because He came back!

Uncle chandraPHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay (Ipad2)