…And a Time to Forget

Why should we forget?

First of all, it’s in our nature, in our humanity. As I approach seventy, I find I am forgetting more and more. However, this is not the kind of forgetting I am talking about. I am talking about a deliberate choice to forget something and think about it no more; to fling it from our fingertips and turn our back on it.

God forgets. On purpose. Isaiah 43:25 reads, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” (NIV) This theme is repeated in Hebrews 8:12, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”(NIV)

So we forget, because God forgets. We are commanded to forgive others as we have been forgiven:- remember no more.

I find it interesting that in Isaiah God forgets for His own sake. Likewise we forgive for our own sakes. It makes very little difference to the person who wronged us, but it makes a difference to us, to our peace, to our happiness and even our health.

So what are we called on to forget? We are called on to forget the sins other people have committed against us. Now I know this is impossible. Because I’ve tried. However, what is impossible with man is possible with God. (Luke 18:27) It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can practice this kind of forgetting. And it might need constant practice and we might never perfect it.

We also need to forgive ourselves for our sins and failures. After all, if we’ve confessed our sins, God has forgotten them. Who are we to keep thinking about them and calling them to mind? They are removed from us as far as the east is from the west.

John also talks about forgetting. “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come, but when her baby is born, she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.” (John 16;21 NIV) I think this is not so much forgetting as not concentrating on, not filling our minds with the pain and constantly reliving it.

I have met a number of people who, when asked what was their highlight of 2020, have answered, “Surviving Covid.” They choose not to dwell on the pain, isolation and hopelessness but rather to be grateful that it is over. What I focus on is my choice.

Paul says, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”(Philipians 3:13-14 NIV) I do not think Paul was suggesting we forget the past but rather to not let the past drag us back from embracing the present and the future. The past has many treasures that we need to hold onto.

I find I am in need of God’s wisdom and guidance to know what to remember and what to forget. What shall I write in the sand and let God’s gentle waves wash away for ever? What shall I take into the New Year to equip me to face it with hope and courage?

My Prayer

My Father, Please teach me to know when to forget and when to remember. I commit my memory to You, conscious and unconscious. Amen.

This post is part of JusJoJan.

3 thoughts on “…And a Time to Forget

  1. Dora

    This is a lovely meditation on forgetting, forgiveness, and God’s mercy. Our standing before him clothed in not the rags of our sins but the righteousness of Christ Jesus is not cheap grace. It was after all bought with his blood. I find I can most readily forgive as God forgives only when I consider Christ (as the writer of Hebrews has said).

    I didn’t mean to write so much, but at least you can be sure I took what you wrote to heart. 🙂



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