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Forgetfulness: human weakness or divine disposition?

April 26, 2020

"I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." Hebrews 8.12

 

Yesterday I forgot to post a message. I thought about it, got distracted and then the day ran away with me. It happens. From missed appointments to leaving vulnerable people in risky circumstances, our forgetfulness has the capacity to inflict suffering. Sometimes the impact is relatively mild, mere inconvenience; at other times it can be disastrous. I recall a notorious incident when someone left a pie under a grill and their house burnt down (thankfully no one was left inside).

 

What confounds me (in a good way) is when I read that God himself is apt to be forgetful: him in whom no sin is found. On numerous occasions, in both Old and New Testaments, we are assured that, when we are honest and confess our sins, God is faithful to his promise that he will forgive those who are truly penitent. Psalm 103. 12 proclaims: "as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." God's forgetfulness is deliberate - and refreshing, because it offers the prospect of healing a broken relationship, which can then a enjoy a fresh start. One of my favourite verses in the whole of Scripture is Joel 2. 25: "I will restore to you the years that the locusts have eaten." What a comfort to know that in his compassion, God can make up for all the wasted time of heartache and strife.

 

Is God's kind of forgetfulness available to humans? Of course: not only is it available, it is commanded! "Treat others as you would like them to treat you" says Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7.12). Even before he says that, Jesus warns "If you don't forgive others, God won't forgive you" (Matthew 6.15). So it's a two way flow.

 

Today is a new day so, to amend for my forgetfulness yesterday, I shall post two messages. That is, if I remember...

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