Forgive & Forget

Jeremiah 31: 34

I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.

The entire topic about forgiveness fills volumes. There is God forgiving us and us forgiving others. However, there is another aspect of this topic that is interesting. Let’s call it forgive and forget. Is it truly forgiveness if we retain the memory of the transgression? Do we forgive someone only to later resurrect that offense in times of anger or self-victimization?

God not only forgives our sins but He puts them behind Him, literally. Isaiah 38: 17 says that he casts our sins behind His back. They are behind Him where He can no longer see them. He isn’t holding onto our sin, mistakes, misdeeds, errors or even plain stupidness. The God’s Word translation of today’s verse reads, “I will forgive their wickedness and I will no longer hold their sins against them.” To God, forgiveness means that He has erased it and put it out of His mind. Whew! That is what I call “Good News.”

Now with people, it can be a different thing. We like to retain the sin of others. “Forget my sin, Father, but I will never forget what that person did to me.” We even retain the sins of people who do not directly affect us. There is no better example of this than David. We are first introduced to David in 1st Samuel. He was a shepherd boy who the great prophet, Samuel, anointed to be king. After his calling and anointing, though, he returned to tending sheep, which is so often the case. The next big thing we hear of David is of him slaying the giant, Goliath. David eventually went on to live in the palace of King Saul and served him faithfully. He became a mighty warrior but in his madness, Saul chased him off. Eventually though, David does become the king of Israel. In fact, The Complete Book of Who’s Who in the Bible by Philip Comfort and Walter A. Elwell, says that he was Israel’s most important king. But the great king fell. He lusted after Bathsheba, contrived to have her husband killed, and then took her for himself. Later he repented, God forgave him and his life prospered. We wrote most of the Psalms and through the Psalms we get the most clear picture of a close relationship, a true loving connection between a person and God.

I am always amazed when out of all of the Psalms, 1st Samuel, 2nd Samuel, 1st Chronicles, and the slaying of Goliath the one thing people choose to bring up about David is that he sinned. Really? Jesus made it quite evident that we have all sinned when he said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone” (John 8: 7). Paul just came right out and said it in Romans 3: 23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But then Paul, knowing God and His forgiveness, went on to write, “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (v. 24). In other words, although we have all sinned and as such fall short of the glory of God, God, by His grace, extends mercy and forgiveness to us as a free gift. We haven’t earned forgiveness. We don’t deserve it but that is what grace is, a free, undeserved gift. Yea!

Likewise, it was God’s grace that forgave David. Psalm 51 is a clear picture of a contrite and repentant heart. David knew that he sinned against God and even against himself but he also knew God’s loving-kindness better than any human that had walked the earth. He believed in the kindness of God and he repented. Do you know what God had to say about David? The bible says that David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13: 14). God’s opinion of David isn’t of David as a sinner but as a beloved child. He loved that, although David messed up, he sought God’s heart.

What does it say about us if our recollection of David is of his sin with Bathsheba? How many sins have we committed? In fact, Jesus told us not to judge (Matthew 7: 1) and yet we sit in judgment of David as if we are any better. That is sin. If God has forgiven David, why do we insist on holding on to his sin? If God remembers his sin no more, why do we post it on our bulletin boards? Is this an attempt to make us feel better about our sin and inadequacies? I am thankful God forgave David. I praise God that He has put David’s sin behind Him because I need that same grace. I want Yahweh to forget all the times that I have messed up too.

Jesus died for my sin and yours. The grace that was big enough to pardon David is more than able to cleanse us of our iniquity. The blood of Jesus is more potent than any sin or any sinner. Whoever puts themselves under the blood is cleansed, praise God, so we must ask ourselves what relationship we are to have with another person’s sin. Secondly, Father God chooses to forgive your sin (even your sin of judgment) and remember it no more. So, why should you retain the memory of it along with all of the accompanying emotions if God has put it behind him?

I encourage you to take your sin to the loving Father and lay it at His feet. Speak with Him with an open and contrite heart. When, however, you leave the throne room, leave that sin there along with the memory of it. Bury your sin and stop digging it up. Dad doesn’t want to be reminded of it. He has put it behind him. Now, can you?


2 Corinthians 6: 18

And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me.”

This is a deep and important message but it is difficult for many of us to really fathom. The relationship that God wants to have with you is central to all His thoughts. Every other promise He has made us is here in this simple statement. And He made this statement many times throughout history and is still saying today that He wants to be a father to you and He wants you to be, to choose to be, His child. This relationship is so important to Him that it formed the basis of His covenant with David. Of all the things He could give to David or promise David, God chose this relationship of father and child to be the most important thing He could give. David was well loved by God. The bible says that David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13: 14). In other words David was precious and dear to God and David’s behaviors pleased and blessed God’s heart. God could have given David anything in all of creation. He could have promised him anything. What God did do was to promise David everything. Within the covenant He made with David was every need met, the desires of his heart fulfilled and David was made a king to boot. Everything you need or will ever need or want is in this relationship and it is God’s covenant promise to you. Be his kid and let him be your father.

Be Still

Psalm 62: 5

My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him.

The first thing I needed to understand about this verse in order for it to minister blessing to me is that David is actually addressing his own soul. I think there is an entire message in the truth that sometimes we need to speak to our souls commanding them in a particular direction but what I really want to talk about today is being still before God so that we can enter into deep communion with Him. 

This has been a contemplation of my heart for a long time now and a focus for this year. I have never been very good at being still. Psalm 46: 10 tells us, “Be still and know that I am God” or as it reads in the NASB version, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” Either phrasing is equally difficult. Being still relates to both physical stillness and mental quiet. I found being still and quiet physically challenging but mental quiet near impossible. I would sit down to pray and my mind was all over the place. I thought I had a quick, active mind but in truth I had an undisciplined mind. In my experience, it is very difficult to have an active communication with God when my mind will not shut up for one moment. Something, therefore, really struck me about the silence David commanded to his soul.

It turns out that this “silence” is an interesting word. It is the word “damam”. Its primary meaning is “to be or grow dumb, silent or still – ceasing.” Not surprisingly, we see the expected silence but there is also the concept of stillness that is found in Psalm 46: 10 as well as the mandate to cease striving. This is a profound silence then, akin, in my mind, to peace. When we look at all of the definitions and synonyms for this word “silence” we find the words relax, rest and wait. There is an imperative tense too in made silent, kept silent, stand still, stay still, wait in silence. These are the commands David spoke to his soul. He tells his inner being to be still, quiet, relaxed, etc. knowing that God will speak into the silence.

We know David to be a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13: 14). We also see in David a person who fully expected God to be an active player in his life. I have to conclude that this internal discipline that David exercised and his core belief that God would speak into the silence were critical factors in the enviable relationship that He enjoyed with God. There is nothing, however, that God did for David that He will not also do for you and me. Therefore, it may be wise for us to look into this man’s behaviors and attitudes, no, not to observe only but rather to model his behaviors so that we may enjoy the same fruit. For I am convinced that if we sow the same seed that David sowed, we will reap the same fruit, that of a close, personal, Psalm 23 kind of experience with the Father of lights, the God of the universe, our very own dear father.

Finally, for some of you quiet contemplation may come easily though that is beyond my comprehension. Others of you may find this topic challenging. All of us probably need to meditate (think on, cogitate, ponder) over this topic. Quiet spirits, still minds and bodies are not the stuff of modern society. If, however, we want to enjoy daily communion with our Father, if we want to hear His voice speaking into our everyday life then we are going to have to master the art of silence, the skill of still.