I am struggling to believe this

The subject of today’s post is forgiveness. Every Christian, no matter how long or short they’ve been in the faith will understand the subject of forgiveness. It’s the fundamental basis of our faith – God forgiving us through Christ and we in turn forgiving one another. By and large, we know we have to forgive each other and many of us would not have a particular problem with this.

But the concept I am struggling with is ‘forgetfulness’. I was challenged when I came across scriptural references that say that God not only forgives sins but He also forgets them. Really?

Hebrews 8:12:

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more

Isaiah 43:25:

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.

Hebrews 10:17:

“Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more”

Jeremiah 31:34

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

These scriptures are indeed a surprising testament to the power and breadth of God’s forgiveness.

The question I found myself asking is, does God actually forget our sins in the same way that we forget things – almost as if they never happened? If He does, then what is the implication for me?

Forgiveness yes, forgetfulness – no. How can God forget that we have sinned. This is one of those scriptures that brings me back to my humanity and I have to believe that God remembers my sin no more.

Does God really purge His memory when it comes to our sins? There is a sense in which I am asking myself – does the word ‘forget’ actually mean ‘forget’ and if it does, then that poses a challenge for me in terms of my attitude and response to forgetting other people’s sins – after all I need to be like my Father in heaven.

I must admit that I am struggling theologically about this concept. Is it a case of God choosing not to remember our sins and therefore He has chosen not to act on them through judgement and punishment?

If God knows all things, how can He not remember our sins?

I find it easy naturally to forgive others and in many cases, I find it easy to move on from the incident until something similar happens and it all comes welling up. But there are other times when I find it difficult to forget and I find myself rehearsing the incident over and over again. Sometimes, we live with the consequences of a hurt, thereby making forgiveness difficult.

Isaiah 43:25 gives us an explanation of why we should forget – it is for our own sake. God is teaching us that we are not to be burdened by anyone’s offence.

This is probably one of the hardest things to do, but this is what it means to be like God.

The provision of the cross is not a blotting out of the sin but a conscious decision to ask for divine assurance so that we are no longer bound by the pain and the hurt of the incident. This is the totality of the work accomplished on the cross.

Forgiveness and forgetfulness are both sides of the coin. It’s not either/or but both. Complete freedom is not just forgiving but also forgetting. By not realising that in addition to forgiving, we also need to ask for the power to forget, we short change ourselves.

‘O Lord, help me to exhibit divine attributes like You do’ should be our response to this

So until I appear again in your inbox with more insight into the scriptures, let’s keep on forgetting past offences



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About the Author: Ola Aroyehun

Ola Aroyehun editor of The Christian Business and Professional Magazine: a magazine dedicated to helping Christians apply biblical principles to their professional lives.

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