The Weekly Epistle 6/12/24

Hi Living Hope,
The forgetfulness of God. Does God forget? Does God forget our sins? Is it correct to say that God forgives and forgets and that we too should forgive and forget others’ sins? 

You know the old story of the wife who said to her pastor, “Every time my husband and I get into an argument he gets historical.” 

“You mean hysterical,” the pastor replied.
“No I mean historical for he reminds me of everything I have done wrong in the past.” 

God is not like that. He doesn’t get “historical” on us when we sin or as we make our way through life. When the Bible speaks of God not remembering our sins, it is not saying that God forgets what we have done and that He has some kind of amnesia when it comes to our sin. 

God knows everything! He knows everything past, present and future. God cannot “forget” as we might think of forgetting. God’s not remembering means that God will never call our sins to mind. It means that He will not call them to mind in a way that is harmful or destructive to us. God chooses not to remember them by not holding those sins against us. 

As David rejoices over the forgiveness of God, he expresses it this way in a Psalm. He says, “Blessed (or happy) is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed (happy) is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against him, and in whose spirit is no deceit” (See Psalm 32). 

Do you see what that is saying? God is not in the business of continuing to remind us of past sins. And he doesn’t want us to live in that place of reminding ourselves of our sins and failures. God does not remember us the same way we remember us. Psalm 25:7 says, “Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O Lord.” 

God promises to remember our sins no more in Isaiah 43:25 and Jeremiah 31:34. Micah, the prophet, says in Micah 7:19, “That God will hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” I love Corrie Ten Boom’s commentary on that verse. She said, “When we confess our sins, God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever. Then God places a sign out there that says, ‘No fishing allowed!’” 

All too often we go fishing for those sins and failures in our lives. But God does not go fishing for our sins to then throw them in our face or to manipulate our behavior or to shame us. It is a gracious and conscious choice on His part to never think about our moral failures. 

In the same way, even when we remember someone else’s sin, we can make a choice to not hold that sin against them. We aren’t capable of forgetting it. And to remember it doesn’t mean that we mustn’t have really forgiven the person. No! Just each time that sin we have forgiven is remembered, we can choose not to reflect on it, ponder it, analyze it, or bring it up to that person or to someone else. In this way, only, can we forgive and forget! 

Our hope is not in a God who forgets, but in a God who forgives!

 Forgiven and loving it, Pastor Brian