Be an Infant…Not an Elephant

No one tells you when you marry a pastor that everyday goings-on, mishaps, and air-headed moments become fodder for possible sermon illustrations. Fortunately, my husband and I have an understanding that I won’t be the subject of such illustrations without prior approval. Somewhere during the last six years, I have begun to look at life’s little moments as sermon illustrations, as well. Do you know what I am talking about? Those everyday moments that have bigger meaning, the visuals and events that give us an a-ha moment and a better understanding of the Scriptures, the practical applications that grow our relationship with Christ and others?

I had one of those moments just last week and I just can’t get it out of my head. Since last December, I’ve been keeping the youngest child of some very dear friends and church members. We’ve become quite attached to the little fellow; Mike asks about his “little buddy” as soon as he walks in and our dog, Scarlett has made it her personal mission to protect “her” baby. We’ve watched him go from a completely dependent baby to a crawling machine and I am pretty sure that walking is not far behind. With the ability to crawl and pull up, has also come the desire to get into things that he shouldn’t and so the dreaded word ‘No’ and firm voice are becoming necessary. I finally understand what your parents meant when they told you that, “this is going to hurt me more than it does you.” When the firm ‘No’ is used, that cute little face screws up, the head drops and the most horrible, you-have-hurt-my-feelings cry follows. He crawls to you and holds up his arms, anxious for comfort and reassurance that he is still loved. I pick him up, tell him that I love him, but have to tell him ‘No’ so that he won’t get hurt, and the most amazing thing happens. He grins a watery, toothy grin and just like that, he has forgotten that I hurt his feelings. The whole process takes a minute or less.
I can’t help but wonder when that changes in us as humans. When do we stop forgiving and forgetting like an infant and begin holding on to every hurt feeling, every wrong (perceived or real), every cross word? When do we become elephants — never forgetting and thus never really forgiving?
Now, it’s true that nowhere in the Bible do we see the phrase “forgive and forget,” but we do see God demonstrate the concept when He tells us in Hebrews 8:12 that He “will remember their sins no more.” Its not that God is unaware of our sin, but He has chosen to forgive us of them and act as if the sin had never occurred. So we too must put this into practice, forgiving our offenders and acting as if the offense never occurred–in essence forgetting it. We must make a concentrated effort to live out Ephesians 4:32, “forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
So today, you have a choice..what will it be? Are you an infant or an elephant?

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