God Doesn’t Remember
March 29, 2016Faith-based, Forgiveness, Relationship Building, Spiritual Intimacy
You may wonder if it is really possible for God, who knows everything, to completely forgive and forget. This sounds like a real paradox. We can reasonably assume that God is able to do anything He wants because He is supreme. When God chooses to not keep an account of our errors, in essence what He has forgiven is no longer relevant—it is as forgotten.
The story is told of a minister who had sinned very badly and even though he had confessed his sin, he never felt forgiven.
A lady in his church was always saying, “The Lord said to me such and such.” It wasn’t that he didn’t believe her, because she was usually right. It’s just that she really irked him.
One day the minister said, “If God is speaking to you, ask Him to tell you what it was I did years ago.”
A few days later, she came back to him. “Well?” he demanded. “Did you ask Him?”
“Yes,” she replied.
“And what did He say?” asked the minister.
“He said He doesn’t remember.”
The minister’s problem was a lack of understanding.
If we do not really believe God’s forgiveness is full and complete,
we will not be able to feel its benefits.
Many of us are living off-key because of the erroneous perceptions we’ve picked up from the world and even in some houses of worship. Sadly, we have been taught that God is ready to cast us into everlasting punishment if we fail to respond to His love. We tend to see God as a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. Have you ever wondered how He can be very gracious and at other times rather cruel? We are torn between the contrast and wrestle with a God that appears to both love and disdain us.
No wonder we treat each other as we do! We’re under the impression that our love-hate reaction to each other is normal because this is the Way God is with us. Our confusion about the nature of God inappropriately seems to give us license to reflect and resemble Him as an angry God who is ready to destroy those who disagree with Him.
The only dark side of God is in our mistaken view of Him. Our misconception is even used as an excuse for our own bad behavior.
After all, if God gets mad and bad things happen,
why is it wrong for me to lose my temper?
Conversely, Scripture tells us that God is love and He is motivated only by the love that makes up His nature (see 1 John 4:7-8, 16). God does not even produce a shadow (see James 1:17). Our confused perception of God is responsible for any darkness we believe about Him.
God’s Loving Care
You may say, “Well, what about God’s choice to expel Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden?” God removed Adam and Eve from the Garden so they would not eat of the Tree of Life while they were unrepentant. Expulsion was God’s merciful action, His corrective hand, to bring them to repentance.
God’s love freely forgives us. The only thing that keeps us from His love is our lack of repentance. Repentance is admitting our need to adjust our attitudes and actions. Beginning with Adam and Eve, God demonstrates that He does not want to leave any of us separated from His loving care. We just need to repent by acknowledging our error and seeking God’s assistance to change. Our heart-felt repentance positions us to receive the forgiveness God gives.
It’s important to realize God hates the sin but not the sinner. God’s wrath is only against our iniquity and sinful ways, not against us. Yes, Scripture tells us that “our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29; Deuteronomy 4:24). The fire of God’s love is not meant to destroy us but to destroy the impurities in us. God wants to purge the dross from our lives and, as through a smelter’s fire, bring us forth as pure silver and gold (see Malachi 3:3).
Fear of the Lord
So why are we taught to fear the Lord? A well-known verse used to support such is:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)
The Hebrew word translated fear in this verse means “reverence,” which is a deep respect mixed with awe and wonder. A few versions translate the word correctly, as reverence (The Living Bible, J.B. Phillips New Testament, Good News Translation, and Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible).
God does not want us to have a dreadful fear of Him. This verse is really saying, “The reverence and knowledge of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and understanding.” Our reverence of God nurtures a trust and confidence in our heavenly Father’s love and good will toward each of us.
There is no dark side of God. Let’s toss away our Jekyll and Hyde perception. We want to accept His disciplines as the corrective hand of our loving heavenly Father. The New Testament speaks of God as Father more than 250 times! Yes, God is our Creator, King, and Judge, and yet, He functions in these roles with the heart of a Father.
Let’s trust God’s love for us and fully repent so we can receive the benefits of His forgiving love. Being free from our misunderstanding of God’s nature, we will also be more apt to reflect the fullness of His love into our earthly relationships.
-Keith Carroll, Relational Gospel Founder
Resources to help
We share resources about this abundant way of living here on our website. Both of my books, Created to Relate, Insights Into Our Design and Purpose, and The Christ Culture, A Way of Life Like No Other are available for your devotional read, and for purchase in printed or eBooks.
Many folks are finding my books to be insightful reads, excellent for personal understanding and to share in small groups. We provide a Leader’s Guide to facilitate discussions.
Relational Gospel – we want to understand what we believe.