Spiritual Amnesia

Have you ever been driving to work, home, or some other familiar place and arrived at your destination with no recollection of the drive? I’ve done that more than once in my life. It is a strange feeling to think that I was apparently conscious enough to drive without crashing, but so caught up in thinking about something else that I was unaware of the journey.

Christians often talk about their faith journey almost like they were never a non-Christian. They sometimes seem to look down their noses at people and their problems forgetting that they were once like that themselves.

Maybe I shouldn’t use we, maybe it is just me. But I think we all develop a bit of amnesia. We forget all of the missteps, challenges, and failures that accompanied our journey that got us where we are today. We forget the grace, mercy, and love that was shown to us along the way, too.

This forgetfulness plays itself out in a few different ways. Here are some of them.

  1. We demonstrate amnesia when we make caricatures out of people who believe differently than we do. What we believed before we became Christians was what we believed. I know I didn’t like what I thought was true being over-simplified. I can’t imagine anyone else does either.
  2. Amnesia forgets that no one likes to be discounted or told their beliefs are not logical or true. Why not ask questions and find out why your friend believes the way he or she does. It worked for me…it might work for you, too.
  3. We have amnesia when we forget that there is truth and beauty in almost every belief outside of Christianity. If there wasn’t, we wouldn’t have held those beliefs. What is beautiful and commendable about what your friends believe?
  4. When we limit our contact and connections to those that believe like us, we forget that someone reached out to us with the Gospel message.
  5. Our amnesia causes us to forget that every person on the face of the planet is valuable to God no matter what they believe or how they live.

My point is that most of us were outside the fellowship of believers before we believed. We were the ones that people made assumptions about and were painted like caricatures at a fair. Being treated like my beliefs didn’t count was an insult. I know I longed for someone to love me for who I was and not who they wanted me to be.

Paul asks those in Corinth to remember their journey. He writes, “Think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth” 1Corinthians 1:26.

If we are going to have an impact with the Gospel message,Paul’s advice is good stuff. Who were you and who was I before we were called? I remember and it has given me a great deal of patience and sensitivity in my conversations with people.

When we regain our memories we will renew the sense of awe for being loved by God in the first place. It is great to once again realize that it was “Amazing grace that saved a wretch like me.”


3 thoughts on “Spiritual Amnesia

  1. Terry

    Ok…Penny, after a night’s reflection I think I get where you are coming from. Now then I have a different question. Why do we care if people give us that “do you smell that” look? And I ask this because I am often more guilty than anyone of putting forward the glittering image when my real self is in the shadows wanting to come out.

  2. I don’t suffer from amnesia at all. I know where I came from, what I believed and didn’t believe in for years. I don’t share it with everyone face to face because I always get the “do you smell that?” look.

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