“Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more. By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them.” | (D&C 58:42–43.)
Have you ever made a mistake or committed a sin before? If you are human, this is a foregone conclusion. As part of the repentance process, you really hard to make recompense with the aggrieved, pray for forgiveness, and finally feel like you have moved on. After all of this work, you finally feel forgiven. You feel like you can move on.
Yet, even after all this, you may be going along with life and someone who knows about the sin or mistake reminds you of your past mistake or sin and the guilt, shame, and embarrassment comes flooding back. To compound the issue, the person may use the mistake or sin as leverage to get what they want. The friend, spouse, or college may leverage the mistake or sin to get their way and say something like “it is my turn to get my way because remember when you did X.” It may be a person who found out about your mistake or sin and use it to blackmail with the threat of exposing you to everyone if you do not do what they want.
How grateful I am that our Heavenly Father does not remember our sins after we repent. I am grateful our Heavenly Father does not leverage the guilt, shame, and embarrassment that accompanies a mistake or sin to get us to do what he wants. Can you image our Heavenly Father blackmailing us with our sins to get us to pay out tithing or to serve others?
How is it possible for our Heavenly Father to remember our sins no more? After all, our Heavenly Father is omniscient (all knowing), and He forgets nothing. Yet, the scriptures says, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). If He knows everything and forgets nothing, then how can he forget our sins?
Our Heavenly Father chooses not to remember our sins. Our Heavenly Father chooses to blots out our sins so completely that it is as if they had never existed. When we are forgiven, our sins are completely forgiven.
We know that God is faithful to forgive (1 John 1:19). Through the atonement, Christ cleanses us of our sins and then our Heavenly Father moves on. Heavenly Father does not hold our sins over us. Instead, He frees us from the slavery of sin and sets us free to experience a new life. We can join King Hezekiah in praising our Redeemer: “…for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back” (Isaiah 38:17).
As Elder Boyd K. Packer shared in a 2006 General Conference talk, “Through the Father’s redeeming plan, those who may stumble and fall ‘are not cast off forever.’” I am thankful that our Heavenly Father is great than we are. That while we may be tempted to use others’ mistakes and sins as leverage, our Heavenly Father chooses to remember our mistakes and sins no more. Our Heavenly Father is slow to judge and quick to forget.