July 23, 2013

Forget the Past

Can you imagine always driving your car looking into the rearview mirror and not out the front windshield?  I know a lot of people who live their lives always looking in the rearview mirror and never looking at the things God has placed in front of them, the opportunities He has opened up for them.  And they wonder why they are always crashing.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” Isaiah 42:18.

There is really one word that sums up forgetting the past – forgiveness. I need to receive forgiveness and forgive others in order to truly let go of the past. One of our greatest barriers in our relationship with God is not letting go of our regrets, our sins, and our failures as well as the sins and failures of others.

Not only does He forgive me when I confess my sins, but He chooses to forget all my sins. Some of you may say to God, “God, You can’t really use me, don’t you remember when I really failed you, and I’ve really blown it. Don’t you remember what I struggled with, all my sins, all my faults, all my mistakes?” God says, “I distinctly remember choosing to forget, so I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Or maybe you’re saying, “Kerry, I can’t forgive myself. I’ve asked forgiveness of God, but I keep thinking about all my sin and failures and all the times that I’ve blown it.” If the God of the universe has forgiven you and forgotten it, why are you unwilling to forgive yourself? Do you think you are greater than God? That’s a slap in God’s face.

I believe the one thing about God’s character that really perplexes us is His grace. If we can just grasp a little bit of that and live in that grace, then we become a giver of grace. In Hebrews 8:12 God says, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”  I want you to see that He is not saying that our sins are okay, that it is not that bad or that sin is no big deal. If sin were no big deal, there would be nothing to forgive.

It is God’s desire that just as He forgives us, we will forgive others.  Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Psalm 103:8-12 is a great reminder of God’s forgiving nature.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.