"Forgetting what is behind…"

(Related: 1, 2, 3, 4)

It is the unfortunate trend among leaders in UBF and in other abusive groups to tell those who’ve been abused in the group to “forget the past” and “just move on” (while they themselves keep beating old, dead horses) and keep slamming former members in their sogams. A frequently twisted passage is Phil. 3:13-14. What’s left out is the context of those verses, and that context is what someone else has blogged about:

The context of Phillipians 3 should have allayed my concerns about whether this passage denigrates the study of history. It’s clear that Paul is referring to his personal past, and specifically to his efforts as a religious person, before he met Christ, to live a righteous life. Paul is saying here that his strict observance of the religious law did not earn him salvation and does not allow him to rest in complacency. His consuming reality now, after the Damascus road, is to know Christ. As Paul says in verses 8-9 “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” The academic discipline of history, as a means of gaining wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, and as a way of glorifying God, is a different question, and may be part of learning to “know Christ.”

How hard it is, though, to “forget what is behind” as Paul intends here. How often we keep mental lists of things we’ve done that establish our bona fides as Christians. I’ve served on this or that committee, I’ve led worship for such-and-such years, I’ve been involved in this or that Bible study, I’ve blogged about my faith, I’ve contributed to some or another organization.

“Forgetting what is behind” means putting the UBF-ingrained works righteousness behind me and learning what the gospel of God’s grace really means, “the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” As for the abuses and traumas suffered by me and others in UBF, may we all completely “move on” some day, but may we always have a “sense of history”. May we never forget.

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