Forgetting has a double edge

Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life, because it contradicts the sacred voice that call us God’s beloved.
— Henri Nouwen

It is easy to forget things, especially as one gets older. The Bible is full of people who forgot things; some even forgot God! The disciples forgot to take provision (bread) on a journey across the lake to the region of Magadan. The chief cupbearer forgot Joseph after his release from prison. Job felt his friends had forgotten him in the midst of his misery. 

Sometimes a person can feel God has forgotten them. It can also creep into the psyche of a church when members struggle to see God doing anything in or with them. The sons of Korah knew this as evidenced by what they wrote in Psalm 42:9; “I say to God, my Rock: ‘Why have you forgotten me?’ ”

This can seem true when we see ourselves as insignificant or unimportant, unnoticed by the surrounding world. Have you ever been to a party or function where it seems as if all the other people have someone to talk to, but you don’t? Even if it isn’t true, it can deflate one’s self-esteem, can’t it? Feeling alone can lead to a sense of being forgotten.

Fortunately, this is not the way God operates. Jesus Himself said, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God.” (Luke 12:6) He also said, “… don’t be anxious … your heavenly Father knows what you need...” (Mt 6:31-32) He also demonstrated God’s care by changing the water into wine at the wedding at Cana: a good expression of God taking notice of need. 

There is one thing God does forget. He forgets sin that has passed under the blood of the Cross! Hebrews 8:12 says, “For I will be merciful towards their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” This was a prophecy from Jeremiah 31:31-34 about the New Covenant God has established through Jesus. It seems that even for God forgetfulness has a beneficial place. 

I believe we benefit by remembering that just as the Lord forgets things that we do that disappoint Him, we can too. We can let offenses go by forgiving and forgetting. Because God forgives and forgets our mistakes, we should follow His lead by forgiving and forgetting our and others errors.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we dismiss our mistakes without learning from them. It does, however, mean we don’t need to drag them and their associated guilt around all the time. We are released from that when we come to the Cross of Jesus, where the price of sin was paid once and for all.  

Peter Thompson