art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, 1 Kings 17:18b
One of the great lessons my stepdad (the man I was honored to call "Dad") taught me was that delaying the consequences for wrong-doing can be a powerful tool for real change.
One experience has woven itself deep into the fabric of who I am. Dad was always up by 5am. Uncharacteristically, on that day so was I. I had known for a few agonizing days that he knew I had done something very wrong. He said nothing, and that delay allowed my guilty conscience to do its work. Part of that work was to break down my teenage defense and excuse mechanisms. The depth of my struggle was in direct proportion to my love and respect for him... and my need to be respected by him.
My shame had mangled my self-confidence, but I knew I had to look him in the eye, because he was that kind of man. So I looked him square in the face (I see his eyes even now) and asked if I could speak with him. He said, “Ok,” and just looked into my eyes… waiting. My pulse raced as I confessed my deed. His eyes never moved from my face as he said, “I wondered when you would decide to speak to me about this.” Then he spoke to my guilt with wisdom and discipline. Strange... but when it was all over, somehow I felt a little older, a little stronger, a little taller. After that he never spoke of it again, or gave the slightest hint that he remembered my wrong. All sons should be so blessed to have a father who forgets.
This word remembrance carries the weight of delayed consequences. It is translated from a few Hebrew terms meaning a past sin that is now officially remembered for judgment and punishment. In the case mentioned in this verse the woman had not forgotten her sin… and she knew God had not fogotten either. In her mind there was nothing she could do about it except wait for judgment to fall. Unlike her, we Christians can rise up early, kneel before our Father, and confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse us… and remember our sin no more. 1 John 1:9; Hebrews 10:17