The declaration from that passage I’d like to focus on today is Love keeps no record of wrongs. If God is love (1 John 4:8) and love keeps no record of wrongs, then maybe God keeps no record of wrongs.
That runs quite contrary to our understanding of God, doesn’t it?
We tend to think of Him having a perfect memory for all the stuff we do wrong – every F-bomb we drop, every time we have one too many chicken wings, each time we stare a little too long at the scantily-clad bombshell on the cover of a magazine. And we think He keeps track of it all in some giant ledger the size of a public library dictionary, like a fault-finding, overzealous tax auditor (present company excepted, Marc).
But is it possible that the master of the universe, who is loving, good, patient, kind, generous and loving (yes, I know I said loving twice), has better things to do than nitpick the lives of seven billion people? Of course He could make room for this on His to-d0 list, but why would He?
Pedantic legalism is one of the things Jesus came to save us from, isn’t it? If that’s the case, why would God be a pedantic legalist?
As counter-intuitive as it is to us, we’re told that there’s no hierarchy of sin – that a little white lie is no less powerful when it comes to keeping us from God’s presence than cold-blooded murder. Maybe that’s because the details of how we’ve strayed from His path aren’t the point.
Maybe God is far, far less concerned with the state of our ledgers than He is with the state of our hearts.
In his sermon video The Gods Aren’t Angry, controversial hipster megapastor Rob Bell tells a story he borrowed from friar and writer Brennan Manning. It goes something like this:
An archbishop hears numerous stories of a woman who’d been having visions of Jesus, and it’s stirring up a bit of a tempest in his archdiocese. So he goes to investigate, and really, to debunk her story. She won’t back down in her claims, so he tries to call her bluff.
“Next time you have a vision of Jesus, ask Him to tell you what sins I confessed the last time I went to confession,” the archbishop tells her. She agrees.
A few days later, he meets with her again, and she has indeed had another vision of Jesus. He asks if she asked Jesus his question.
She takes his hand and says, “Yes, I asked Jesus to tell me what sins you confessed the last time you went to confession. Jesus’ exact words were, ‘I don’t remember.'”
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” – Jeremiah 31:34
Peace be with you.