Several times recently I have seen the phrase “unethical amnesia.” I discovered that this refers to our human tendency to forget our own moral lapses and bad behavior, crowding them out of our minds with thoughts of what we do right.
Organizational psychologists, of Northwestern University and Harvard Business School, respectively, found through some rigorous social science testing that recalling our own bad behavior, (sins in biblical language) causes “psychological discomfort.” As a result people have blurred memories of the bad things they’ve done and much clearer memories of the good things they have done.
This reminds me of the biblical challenge, “Do not deceive yourselves” (1 Corinthians 3:18). Paul and other writers of scripture didn’t need modern social science research to know that the human heart has a real tendency to shade the truth to make us look better than we really are…even to ourselves.
One quality of the pure heart the Bible so often calls us to have is that it is eager to be completely honest about what is really in there. One does not have to have lived flawlessly to have a pure heart. We just have to want to be truthful about what we have done and what we still struggle with, all with a desire to grow and change so we do God's will more fully.
And it is right here that we find a great promise: “But if we walk in the light [letting our true selves be seen and known], as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” The next verse reminds us, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:7-8).Outside of Christ, our conscious and subconscious mind may tell us we have no choice but to cover our faults to even us help us accept ourselves, but in Christ we find the freedom to be real and the grace to be purified and transformed.
- - -Footnote to my article on guns: Yet another child killed herself with a handgun yesterday in Louisiana.