Some people have impressive memory banks.
My sister could probably tell you what shirt I was wearing that time in high school my Volkswagen Superbeetle broke down in the mall parking lot.
My husband likely could recall every vacation we’ve taken since we got married, in what year and month the vacation occurred, and how many restaurants we dined in while we were out and about. “Did we go on vacation last summer, honey?” “You mean that one to Yellowstone that cost us thousands of dollars? Yes. Yes we did.”
Ok, that was a slight exaggeration, but not huge.
I recently asked my mom, as we were planning our post-Christmas holiday visit to her area of Tennessee, “Have we been to Nashville? I’d like to see Nashville.” She reminded me we spent a few days there only two winters ago. But of course we did! Good times. Such a great place.
These lovely people are my walking memory keepers. They have great long-term memories, and I do not. It’s not that I forget everything from the distant past (more than two weeks is distant, right?), it’s just…kinda like Swiss cheese. There’s a whole lot of yummy content in there, but also a good number of holes.
While I don’t have access to a lot of different kinds memories that “should” be stored in my mind, this tendency also grants me the opportunity to not hold grievances or grudges. I like that about my memory, actually. Having a lackluster long-term memory helps me forget when someone has done me a modest injustice. Not being a grudge-holder helps me feel very Christian sometimes.
Not so fast, Vickie (writer says to herself). There’s a passage in Isaiah (43:25) that reads, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” God's “remembering no more” is vastly different than my version of “remembering no more,” in some obvious ways, not least of which is that our God is omniscient.
But God doesn’t really forget, does He? When God “doesn’t remember” our sins, it means they’ll be forgiven. We ask forgiveness and He forgives. Through forgiveness He demonstrates time and again his endless, deep mercy and love for us.
Have you ever waited for someone to realize they wronged you, and then waited longer for them to ask for your forgiveness? I have.
Have you ever created suffering in yourself by not forgiving someone as quickly as you could have? I have. Is it possible that all the time you thought this meanie should ask your forgiveness, they in fact didn't know they wronged you at all? Oh yes, it's possible.
Friends, I’m not talking about significant punishments others have inflicted upon you; forgiving someone who's created pain in you/your life can require spiritual counsel, prayer and often, lots of time. I’m referring to those annoying and inconsiderate things people do in a Tuesday night PTA meeting that we carry around for years. (Ok, maybe that one's just me.)
"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (Colossians 3:13)
May we always remember He forgave us first, and that He taught us how to forgive. May we remember how important forgiveness is, and how it blesses us as much as it blesses Him. May we be grateful we have the forgiveness option at all! Forgiveness is pretty much Job One. And that’s really, really, really worth remembering.
"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace." (Ephesians 1:7)