Ever walk into a room, and suddenly forget what you came there for? Or how many times a week do you find yourself searching all over for your car keys or cell phone? Kind of scary when that happens, isn't it?
Thankfully, experts say that this kind of forgetfulness is common, and is not necessarily a sign of Alzheimer's or dementia setting in. Forgetting where you left your car keys shouldn't alarm us; forgetting what to do with car keys should. Nevertheless, it's frustrating when we forget things. Most of us, no matter how sharp our memories are, would like to improve them.
Interestingly, God encourages us to decrease our memories. In Isaiah 43, he says, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past." He said that right after reminding the people of Israel of the epic rescue he had carried out centuries earlier when Moses parted the Red Sea. Over a million former slaves made their way to safety between the parted waters, while the pursuing Egyptian army drowned in the waves. So why would God tell his people to forget that amazing incident?
The point he was making was that as impressive as the rescue at the Red Sea was, God was going to do something far more amazing. He was going to carry out a rescue that would make the parting of the Red Sea seem like a day at the beach. Seven centuries after Isaiah wrote this prophecy, it came true. The amazing rescue happened just outside the walls of Jerusalem, at a hill called "The Skull." It didn't necessarily look all that impressive, however. There was no parting of the sea, no crashing of the waves, no drowning of enemy charioteers. Instead, the rescue consisted of a bruised and bloody man being nailed to a piece of wood and left to die. To the casual observer, this was simply an example of man's inhumanity to man.
But this was no ordinary man. This was the holy, eternal Son of God. This was God in the flesh, who had taken the sins of the entire world on himself. When Jesus died on the cross, our sins died right along with him. But when he rose again, our sins did not rise. They stayed dead and buried. Because of that, God also has a case of forgetfulness. A few verses after telling us to "forget the former things," God informs us that he has forgotten our sins. They're gone, along with their guilt and punishment. Gone and forgotten.
Because of Jesus' death on the cross, God has forgotten our sins. So should we. Don't let the sins of your past weigh you down in the present. And don't let the sins others have committed against you do the same. Forgive. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Forgive and forget by remembering the cross.
- Brent Merten is pastor of Mountain Valley Lutheran Church, 802 Brush Creek Terrace, Eagle www.mvlutheranchurch.com.