Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Blessing of Forgetting...and Remembering

~Tracy Frederick

The sounds of the storm, among other things cause another sleepless night. As I listen to the rain outside and storm blowing and try to quiet my brain to catch a few more hours of sleep, I pray. I pray for others who I know are hurting, for those who are facing challenges to their faith and those who have not yet found their Lord. My mind races from one to another, but included in those prayers first and foremost is my own inadequacies. It is in these quiet moments of night, and sometimes during the strangest moments of the day that a memory will appear. Sometimes it is welcome one, but often it is a reminder of something that I have done that I would rather forget, something that is shameful, and something that hurt my Master or the times that I have failed to do what I knew to be right and good. Each of these memories follow with a flood of regret, remorse and usually another short prayer for forgiveness, even though I know He has long ago forgiven me. So, this night as I pondered those memories and try to push them away I was thinking of why it is so hard to do that; why is it so hard to forget? I pray for peace from the regrets, but then I began to think about the comfort that comes from knowing that my Lord has no such recollection of those things that I seem to be unable to let go of. 
I contemplate the soul-soothing comfort that comes with godly forgiveness.  It is so much different from human forgiveness.  We all know what forgiveness means, the biblical use of the word is to “cast away” or “spare” from a punishment.  Each of us have asked for it from a friend, even asked us of when someone cuts in line at the grocery store or interrupts a conversation, but we may all too often remember it again when another person tries to do the same. Perhaps we take offense even more, since it has been done before, right? The problem is that we remember.  The most comforting thing I contemplate this night while praying for wisdom and peace is that my God does not.  “For  I will be  merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12)  “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 10:17).  Isaiah paints a great picture of what our God does with our forgiven sins: “… thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption:  for  thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.” (38:17). As I contemplate how hard it is for me to forget the things I’ve done, I have wondered about my God and how He is able to forget. After all, He isn’t a “forgetting” God. He remembered His promises to Abraham, even when he and Sarah had given up hope (Gen 12:1-3). He remembered His promise to His people when they thought He had turned His back (Ex 2:23). He remembered His promise He gave to me at the beginning of the world (Gen 3).

Yeah, I have a hard time understanding and forgetting. But, then again maybe it isn’t so bad that I remember. Maybe it is a good thing that from time to time as I go through my day, or on a dark stormy night my past offenses come back.  It is only because I remember, and feel remorse again for the pain I have caused that reminds me to hold onto the grace and peace that He offers.
It has been a long night already and tomorrow will be a longer day, but it is a great comfort knowing that tomorrow can be filled with peace; that if we are in Christ (Rom 6:4) we can have the grace (I John 1:7) and peace (Phil 4:7) of knowing God has forgotten.

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