What’s your memory like? Apparently, the storage capacity of the human brain is virtually limitless. I guess that means I don’t have an excuse for forgetting what I came upstairs for, or forgetting to take my lunch to work the other day, or worse still – forgetting my wedding anniversary! Incidentally, you might be relieved to know that there is a scientific explanation for forgetting what we went into a room for. Apparently, going through doorways may act as a trigger for the brain to store memories away so that we then can’t remember once we get to the next room.
My mum tells the story of when my sister (her first child) was born and she went to a shop. As was common in those days, she left the pram outside and went in to do her shopping. She finished the shopping, left the shop and started to walk home, completely forgetting to take my sister with her! She didn’t get too far before realising! I am so glad that God promises never to forget me. There is a verse in the Bible that compares God to a mother and says, “how can a mother forget her baby? And yet even if she does, I will not forget you.” (Isaiah 49:15) God can’t forget us because we are his precious children and he is our perfect parent.
But what is equally amazing is what he chooses to forget. The Bible tells us that when we ask God to forgive us, he doesn’t just forgive, he forgets, (Isaiah 43:25). When we forgive people, we don’t automatically forget what they have done – we can’t erase the memory just by choosing to do so, although the memory can become less painful. It is very easy to bring those things back up again in our relationships, even when we think we have forgiven someone. But God CHOOSES to forget. He decides not to remember the mistakes we have made. That means that we can be absolutely sure that he will never hold it against us. When God says he forgives, he means it because he wipes it from his own memory. So, if I try and ask for forgiveness for the same mistake again, he says, “What mistake?” Jesus came not just to forgive us, but to wipe the slate clean so we can start again with him.