I just heard a great comparison of God to man and knew I wanted to share it with all of you. A group of Bible teachers were sitting in the leaders’ meeting at our Bible study discussing God’s forgiveness compared to our own. One woman talked about her husband’s complaint that she often brought up his past sins when they got into an argument. He said he was sure she was telling the truth about the other time he had blown it, but he just couldn’t remember what she was talking about. That discussion led the rest of us to discuss that we had similar issues with our spouses. Then one woman quoted her husband and, after we all laughed out loud, we simply moved on. She said her husband looked at her one day and said, “I’d rather you get hysterical than historical.” I have a feeling those words could become a trending topic on Twitter!
Interestingly, that phrase has theological merit. We can get hysterical with God anytime, even though he, like our spouses, would prefer us to come and reason together (Isaiah 1:18). What we cannot do is bring a confessed sin to God and expect him to be historical. God doesn’t want to remember our past sins when we have already been cleansed of them.
Isaiah 43:25 says, “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” That is God saying to his people that He doesn’t want to remember past sins, so He won’t. We should try to be a lot more like God!
It is hard to remember where we left our cell phones a few minutes ago. So why is it so easy to remember what we said or did that hurt someone . . . even though that might have happened eight years ago? Why is it even easier to remember what someone said or did to us? Why do our memories remember past sins so easily—even if we have sought God’s forgiveness or grace?
I think we can blame it on Satan, at least some of the time. I think Satan loves any kind of sin, and the last thing Satan wants is for us to forget about it. He wants us to repeat the sin, remember the sin, or think we have to repent over and over for the sin. Meanwhile God says, “What sin are you talking about?”
So, here is an exercise to send Satan packing. We don’t want to give the darkness any opening in our lives and these verses should slam the door in Satan’s face or turn the volume down when he starts talking:
The gold standard: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:19). If you have confessed a sin it is like yesterday’s dirt. It is down the drain, never to be on you again.
Future protection: Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working (James 5:16). Talk about your sins with a friend you can trust so that you have someone who will pray for you and hold you accountable in the future. Be that kind of friend to someone else as well. God made us to need each other. Quite frankly, I think the Lord would prefer to be in the rewarding mode than the forgiving mode as much as possible!
God’s position: “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25). The next time you want to “re-confess,” remember God’s position instead. In this case God is a lot like those husbands . . . he doesn’t remember either!
We can get hysterical with God, but when it comes to our confessed sins, we cannot get historical. I’m hoping to incorporate that phrase into my own relationship with God. My spouse and my friends probably would appreciate that same consideration as well!
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7: 18–19)
STOP FISHING! I love you, and I don’t want to remember your mistakes. Enjoy my forgiveness.
Join us at www.christianparenting.org and chime in on this week’s discussion question: Chocolate or No Chocolate?