An old hymn that I've not heard sung for a very long time, "Though Your Sins Be As Scarlet", ends with this verse:
He’ll forgive your transgressions, And remember them no more; He’ll forgive your transgressions, And remember them no more; “Look unto Me, ye people,” Saith the Lord your God! He’ll forgive your transgressions, He’ll forgive your transgressions, And remember them no more, And remember them no more.
Has anyone ever encouraged you to just "Forgive and Forget"? Maybe you're in the middle of a conflict with another and you are growing hard and bitter toward him. A well-meaning friend wants to help solve the problem so this common phrase is tossed out as advice.
You may try it...but to no avail. I mean, have you ever tried to forget something? Especially something emotional? Usually a bit difficult. Reminds me of a story my husband told me years ago. He was in an early morning men's prayer group and during one of the meetings he glanced over at the window and saw a brown recluse spider on it. He tried to focus on the praying, but kept peeking out to find that venomous thing. Try as he might, he wasn't going to easily forget that this eight-legged creature was nearby.
Honestly, too, if a friend experienced a horrific sin against her (think abuse, for example), isn't it flippent and callous to just say, "Forgive and Forget"?
This isn't biblical or even possible. When we want to forget, it seems we can't. When we want to remember, I seem to forget. So, when you're in the midst of a conflict with another person, how do we respond in a way that is helpful and even godly?
...For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more. Jeremiah 31: 34
The God of the universe cannot forget. He is perfect and all things are created by Him and held by Him. What does He do when He is sinned against? He does not "oops!" just forget the sin and turn His head in the other direction. No, He does something very purposeful. May we follow His example in forgiving others...
God purposes to NOT remember our sins. As far as the east is from the west, He removes those transgressions from us. Because Love does not keep a record of wrongs, God does not bring them back up to us and re-hash them over and over again. We must be earnest to not replay the old tape recording in our minds of our past hurts. We must be earnest to love and serve those who we have become embittered against. And we must be earnest to cultivate a soft heart that is guarded against offense and resentment.
Our sins were as scarlet, but Jesus has made them white as snow through His amazing sacrifice on the cross. Because of this mighty act of forgiveness, we can now freely forgive others who sin against us. We have so much to be thankful for during this Lenten season!