Do you know what it feels like to be forgotten?
One of the most painful things a person can experience is being treated like they don’t even exist. While this can happen in many different situations, it hurts the most when the actions and behavior are coming from the one person whom we thought truly loved us. Almost every person with a beating heart has had it broken at some point or another by someone else’s words or actions. As hard as it is to go through such an experience, it becomes even more difficult to overcome when the other person adds insult to injury by just walking away, removing you completely from their life by going on with theirs as if they never knew you.
What you thought were good memories with that person before are soon transformed into sad memories, because of your mind’s association with the loss of that person in your life. The fun, happy times that were once filled with color inevitably fade into black and white. Even though you know that the person is gone, you might try to keep them with you in your heart by replaying those good memories in your mind over and over again. However, deep down you realize that it’s useless to do so, because that person from your past is never coming back. Your heart might try to convince you otherwise by imagining a false sense of hope, but your mind has already accepted the harsh reality of the situation.
Because the pain of being forgotten is unbearable, you might try to reach out again.
Maybe the person you loved had a good reason for leaving you, but it was all due to a misunderstanding. Perhaps there were factors in the whole situation that were out of your control, and the rejection and abandonment were never really your fault, or so your mind tries to reason. In an attempt to restore what was lost, you try communicating with that person again to resolve any issues that might remain, hoping to regain your former relationship. You might even pour your heart out to that person in a letter, taking on full responsibility and blame for what went wrong, even if it wasn’t your fault, as long as it leads to potential reconciliation with them. You wait in anxious anticipation for a response, any response, from that person, just so you can stop feeling ignored.
No matter how kind your words were, no matter how understanding you tried to be of that other person’s perspective, trying to reach out to them was all in vain; because they refuse to acknowledge your existence. As far as they are concerned, they have cut you off from their lives, in spite of all the love you tried your best to show them. You feel so empty, worthless, and used; and with every passing day that you don’t hear from that person, you can literally feel yourself fading from their memory. The truth is painfully obvious – the person you cared about with all your heart could no longer care any less about you.
As terrible as all of this sounds, we can be guilty of treating God the same exact way.
Something we must always be mindful of is the fact that God went out of His way to demonstrate His unconditional love for us by sending His Son Jesus to die for us on the cross. He did this for the sole purpose of restoring the lost relationship He once had with man, before he decided to sin and turn against Him. God never needed us, as He is all-powerful; but the truth is He WANTED us, in spite of all our wicked ways. He wanted to not only show His love for us, but also to receive love from us in return. We were all created for God’s pleasure, to make Him happy. Even though we are so incredibly undeserving of His love, He offers it to us freely anyway. Those of us who have already accepted His amazing love into our hearts are familiar with all of the supernatural, Heavenly benefits that can only come from knowing God.
However, even Christians are capable of hurting God tremendously in the same way that I’ve described above. God did not invest His most precious gift of eternal life in us just so He could be ignored by us. Sadly, many Christians do ignore God every single day, by living their lives the way they please, as if they never had anything to do with God in the first place. Whenever we choose to do what we feel like doing in our flesh over spending time with God in prayer and reading His Word, we break God’s heart. God’s Word is how He speaks to us, and His Words are very much alive. Any passage of Scripture can be used of the Holy Spirit to convict us, encourage us, or teach us valuable wisdom. More importantly, it is within God’s living Words that He so clearly and abundantly expresses His love for us. When we neglect to read the Bible or pray, we are telling God, “I don’t need You. Everything You have to say means nothing to me. I can do just fine living my life on my own.” Many people believe that lie, choosing to tell it to themselves every day.
No matter how long we may ignore and forget about God, He is still Almighty God.
Man’s indifference and disrespect towards God does nothing to change His identity or eternal authority over us. Christians can go on doing as they please for however long they will, but in the end they will still have to answer to God for their actions. Even though it breaks God’s heart when we ignore Him, He still has power over the entire universe that He made; therefore He is not dependent on us for validation. God has multitudes of angels that bow to His command, and all of nature obeys His will; so man’s selfish, uncaring attitude is ultimately ineffective. Since the very first sin, man has made a habit of exalting himself in his heart above God and forgetting how insignificant he really is compared to God’s glory. However, God still created man for His pleasure, and He deserves to be acknowledged, feared, and praised for being the Creator that He is.
We should never take God for granted; rather, we should take Him very seriously.
When man first turned his back on God, God could have chosen to just wipe out the entire human race, and make it so that he never existed. Such a course of action would have been poetic justice, and would make perfect sense, since man tried to live like God didn’t exist. Instead, God chose to give man a second chance by offering him the free gift of salvation, so he could once again be restored into a divine relationship with Him. Christians who claim to already have this relationship should be careful not to take God for granted, as God can cause certain things to happen in their lives that will make them remember Him. Whether this comes in the form of chastening or testing, God is determined to make His voice heard as He cries out to the deaf ears of Christians who ignore and forget Him. It is out of God’s unconditional love and mercy that He chooses to do this, since He alone understands the intrinsic needs of the human hearts that He made. We will always need God in our lives, no matter how much our words or actions may deny it.
Just as we become angry and hurt when someone we love forgets us, so does God.
God is the ultimate standard for love, loyalty, and faithfulness; so forgetting God is a sad, foolish mistake to make. Unfortunately, sometimes God’s people have to learn their lesson the hard way before they finally grow to appreciate Him. In the same way that we desire to be acknowledged and appreciated, God desires us to thank Him and praise Him for all that He’s done for us. God does so many things for us daily that we are not even consciously aware of, and many of those things are vital needs that we take for granted. When God doesn’t feel appreciated, He is inclined to give people what they think they want – by leaving them alone. Not completely alone, of course, as He has promised to never leave us or forsake us; but sometimes God will communicate to us by withholding His blessings that we normally might presume upon.
For example, in the Bible, when the Israelites were in a vicious cycle of sinning by falling into idolatry, God would take away His divine protection from them, causing them to become vulnerable to their enemies. It was only after God’s protection left them and they were attacked by their foes that the Israelites fully realized how much they needed God and missed His divine presence. People are often unaware of just how blessed they really are until their blessings are taken away from them, and God’s blessings are no exception. This is the reason why when the Israelites called out to God, begging Him to forgive them and return His protection, God responded through His prophets by saying that He was simply giving them what they wanted, leaving them alone to practice their sin. God told His people exactly what happened, that they pushed Him away so much until He grew tired of fighting against them. As a result, when the Israelites missed God in their hearts, God was grieved, and mournfully responded that they let Him go.
Here are God’s living Words as proof that God hurts whenever we forget Him:
Jeremiah 2:32 ~ “Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number.“
Jeremiah 3:21 ~ “A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the Lord their God.“
Jeremiah 18:15 ~ “Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up;“
Deuteronomy 4:23 ~ “Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee.“
Deuteronomy 8:11 ~ “Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:“
Judges 8:34 ~ “And the children of Israel remembered not the Lord their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side:“
Psalm 50:22 ~ “Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.“
Psalm 78:11 ~ “They forgot His deeds And His miracles that He had shown them.”
Isaiah 17:10 ~ “For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the rock of your refuge. Therefore you plant delightful plants and set them with vine slips of a strange god.”
Isaiah 57:11 ~ “And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered me, nor laid it to thy heart? have not I held my peace even of old, and thou fearest me not?“
Isaiah 65:11-12 ~ “But ye are they that forsake the Lord, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number. Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.”
Hosea 13:6 ~ “According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me.“
Revelation 2:4 ~ “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”
God is calling out to us to remember Him every single day, and we should respond to His voice.
Instead of treating God like an option, we should treat Him like the King of our lives as he rightfully deserves. Each day we are presented with the choice of remembering God or forgetting Him, and the outcome of either decision is very significant. Remembering Him will cause your relationship with Him to flourish, creating a spiritual intimacy that most Christians should enjoy. Forgetting God will distance you apart from Him, producing anxiety, fear, doubt, worry, and a variety of other spiritual problems. God is a personal Being, and He has feelings too, which means He needs to be appreciated and loved just like anyone else. A relationship with God is the best relationship that you can have, as He is faithful, true, and always good. The worst thing that any Christian could do is take this divine, special relationship for granted, by ignoring God and acting like He doesn’t even exist. The same things that hurt us from other people can hurt God too, even though we don’t always realize it.
I will openly admit that I deeply know what it feels like to be forgotten, and I am extremely acquainted with how much it hurts. After being ignored and forgotten by someone I once loved, I experienced pain in my heart unlike any that I had ever known. One day however, God got a hold of my heart and made me realize that the way I was feeling because of that person was the exact same way I made Him feel every time I neglected to fellowship with Him. I was struck to my core at this realization, heartbroken at the idea that the very pain I was feeling from someone else was the same pain I was inflicting on God Himself. I quickly confessed my sin to God and begged Him to forgive me for hurting Him in the same way that I was hurt. Ever since that day, I have tried to be much more sensitive to God’s feelings in my relationship with Him, as I identified with Him on that deeply personal level. I now realize that spending time with God is a special privilege, and the last thing I would want to do is grieve the Holy Spirit. Each new day, I try to remember God as I hear His voice softly whispering, “Forget me not.”
– Gloria D. Hopkins