Few national proclamations for the month of April sound as boring as “Records and Information Management Month.” This uninspiring designation is probably related to April 15—the day by which income tax returns are submitted to the U. S. federal government.
The weeks leading up to April 15 are often spent in a mad scramble to gather records and receipts. We want to keep auditors at bay while minimizing tax liability. The more thoroughly we keep our records, the easier the filing process becomes.
With so many reluctantly focused on recordkeeping this month, perhaps I can provide a respite unrelated to taxes. Are you familiar with the two areas where poor recordkeeping is actually required?
Our relationship with God:
Romans 4:8 (NIV) tells us, “Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”
What a relief for those who have placed their faith in Christ, to know God does not keep a record of sins. Hebrews 8:12 (NIV) puts it this way: “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
While it’s comforting that God doesn’t count our sins against us, the verse in Hebrews does not mean that God forgets our sins. Yet, that’s exactly what many Christians believe. There’s even a contemporary Christian song called “Sea of Forgetfulness,” loosely based on Micah 7:19.
Problem is, it’s not true.
There’s no problem with God’s memory. There will never be a problem with God’s memory. Not remembering may seem the same as forgetting, but it’s not.
Whenever God “remembers” something in the Bible, the word remember signals that God is about to take action. So when He says He will not remember our sins, He is saying He will not take action against us because of them. That action—judgment—already happened at the Cross when His wrath was poured onto Jesus, a wrath that should have been directed at, and paid for, by you and me.
Think about it. If God truly forgot our sins, then He’d have to forget the sacrifice that paid for them – a sacrifice that should never, can never, and will never be forgotten!
Our omniscient God doesn’t forget anything. However, thanks to Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, He intentionally chooses not to remember our sin—not to hold it against us. And if He does not remember, neither should we. So stop beating yourself up about past sin, turn from it, and walk in God’s forgiveness!
Our relationship with others:
When it comes to recordkeeping—or the lack of it—in our relationships, the first passage that often comes to mind is Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV):
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’
Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”
Of course, Jesus did not advocate keeping accounts up to seventy-seven times, Rather, we are to forgive until we lose count. And if we will lose count anyway, there’s no need to start keeping records to begin with!
Proverbs 10:12 (NIV) reminds us, “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” The apostle Peter might have thought of this verse when he wrote, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (I Peter 4:8 NIV).
Cover, don’t count. It’s what God does for us. He doesn’t count our sin against us because it’s covered by the blood of Jesus. And He calls us to do the same.
As we move into the Easter season, we will celebrate Christ’s victory over sin, death, and the devil. But how often do we struggle with sin, ashamed to approach God in confession, wondering how we could have the nerve to ask for forgiveness again? And again. And again. We keep count as if God is keeping count. He’s not.
Or how often do we view other people—even other Christians—as a “thorn” in our side? Keeping count of their offenses, despite our best intentions.
This month, many of us are calculating tax liability and promising to keep better records for next year. Still, we can take joy in remembering two areas where poor recordkeeping is definitely recommended!