God’s Bad Memory

It’s hard to believe that the very One who created the elephant that supposedly never forgets has Himself such a bad memory. Granted, I’ve never trusted an elephant with any of my secrets to test the theory, but I have trusted God with the depths of my secrets hoping He forgets…but I digress. 

There’s something about You that confuses me yet
First You forgive and then You forget

How do Lord, oh do, Lord, tell me, how do You do that?

I’ve known Your forgiveness for each and all of my days
But the way You’ve forgotten leaves me truly amazed

You know the hairs on my head, You named every star
But I’m bowing my knee at how forgetful You are

How do Lord, oh do, Lord, tell me, how do You do that?
(How Do You Do That? by Pastor Brad Olsen)

It amazes me that God, Who created everything, that is in the middle of my triumphs, failures, joys and sorrows…every aspect of my being…forgives AND forgets. Let’s face it…He knows what happens, what we did, about to do, have done and yet to do. See, He knows US. In fact, while Satan is NOT omniscient, he also can take a pretty good guess at how things will play out because he knows our character, what makes us tick and what makes us come unwound. Which is how he knows where to attack us. Satan knows and moves inside my modis operandi, God knows and moves the Holy Spirit in my heart. God will NEVER bring up our sins…or remind us of what we’ve done IF we’ve asked forgiveness. Satan will move in temptation, then guilt. God moves in conviction and forgiveness. Keep that in mind next time you’re reminded of sins…it ISN’T God. 

So how does God treat us when we come to Him when confessing our sins? 

Daniel 9:9
The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him. 

Isaiah 43:25
I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more

Psalm 103:8-14
The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
    slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He will not constantly accuse us,
    nor remain angry forever.
10 He does not punish us for all our sins;
    he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
    is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
12 He has removed our sins as far from us
    as the east is from the west.

13 The Lord is like a father to his children,
    tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14 For he knows how weak we are;
    he remembers we are only dust.

Micah 7:19
He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities.
You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

But what about forgetting sins when it comes to us? Are we happy to know God forgets our sins while we often refuse to let someone else’s sin against us go? Have you ever had someone hold a grudge against you and you think to yourself (or tell someone else), “I asked them to forgive me”? Let’s face it, we’re swifter at putting our sins behind us than to do that for someone that sinned against us. And I said “putting our sins behind us” because we more than often remember our sins, it’s hard to forget them. Forgive and forget? That’s hard. But it’s how we deal with them that makes a difference. Either Satan reminds us, someone else reminds us or we can’t lay it fully at the cross. When God forgives us He sees us in Christ’s righteousness. Yes, THAT is what God sees, not how Satan wants us to think God sees us. And we need to treat those who sin against us as God treats us, as His children. 

But don’t I deserve…??? NO…you don’t. Do you know what we ALL deserve? (insert gulp here) Now we see the depths of God’s forgiveness and why He chooses to forget out of the depth of His LOVE for us. Besides, doesn’t remembering, reflecting, dwelling and rehashing sins committed toward or by us just tear us apart inside? Imagine if God spent His time doing that with us…YIKES! 

Sure, things happen, and we are sinned against or sin against another. We are sinners, we sin, others sin. God has always provided a way to forgive, to redeem and to restore relationships. Much like how God restored our relationship to Him by providing forgiveness through Christ on the cross. See, it comes down to how we show others Christ in our lives, our actions, in how we handle forgiveness at these times. Forgiveness is a powerful thing to the giver and granted.

* You can forgive even if the person who wronged you is unrepentant.
* You can repent even if the person you’ve wronged won’t forgive you.
* But there can be no reconciliation without repentance from the wrong and forgiveness from the wronged.
– Jared C. Wilson

Romans 12:18
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Luke 17:3
Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.

Ephesians 4:32
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Leviticus 19:17-18
17 ‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your peoplebut you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Matthew 18:21-22
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”

We can embrace, learn and live out forgiveness when we see how God gives it…freely. Dwelling in receiving and giving out mercy and grace in love is the ultimate display and evidence of forgiveness. Find redemption, restoration and peace in your relationship with God and with others, who knows…in time you may even forget.

Matthew 18:15
Moreover, if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.

Isaiah 38:17
Indeed, it was for my own peace, That I had great bitterness;
But You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption,
You have cast all my sins behind Your back.

Be Forgiving, Be Forgiven, 
Pastor Steve