God Forgives, Don't Forget
My entire life I have been taught that sin meant missing the mark. God has some sort of standard that we are supposed to live up to, and when we fail to live up to that standard-- when we miss the mark it’s called sin. Just like an archer shooting an arrow at a target and missing the bull eyes, when we sin (I was taught) we have missed the mark in our life and in that moment we separate ourselves from God.
Recently, I heard of an alternate definition to sin, one that I think is actually much more helpful. Apparently, some people speak about sin as forgetfulness. Sin is a moment in time when you fail to remember who God is and how God created you to live.
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
As a Christian I believe that the grace of God is even bigger than my sin, even bigger than the ways that I miss the mark. And I also believe, as the above passage says, that God will not count our sins against us. Rather, God’s freely given love and grace comes to us time and again, even when we forget.
If we are only focused on the ways that we miss the mark of perfection than we will quickly drown in feelings of guilt and shame. But what if, when we mess up, instead of beating ourselves up for missing the mark we simply prayed, "Dear God, I'm sorry, I forgot."?
When God created the heavens and the earth God paused every day and looked at what had been created and called it “Good”. I am convinced that this label applies to you and me as well. Yes, we are far from perfect, but despite our imperfections, God still calls us good.
And we need to remember this truth day after day. Whatever we’ve been through, whatever mistakes we have made, however imperfect our walk of faith has been the truth remains that when we confess our sin and turn back towards God, Godforgives us and declares us good.
May we learn to forgive ourselves as freely as God forgives us. Amen.