Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sin List by Martin Wiles

We called him the “grocery list” professor. And with good reason.

He was my most lenient college professor but also the one whose tests were terribly difficult. The reason? Lists. Pop tests were passed only by studying every list I encountered while completing homework. A’s on tests required extensive preparation. On test day, I could only hope my short term memory survived because that’s as far as any information ever made it.

The author of the psalm was glad the Lord didn’t like lists, and I am too. If God kept a list of my sins, I’d buy stock in paper. And if he held the list against me, I’d be doomed. If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? (Psalm 130:3)

Fortunately God doesn’t keep a record. At least not for those who ask forgiveness. Unfortunately, I can’t always say the same. If I’m not careful, I’ll hold on to hurts others have inflicted on me and formulate a plan on how I can exact even more pain on them.

Instead of storing wrongs in my short term memory, I tend to rehearse them which shoves them into my long term memory. Once there, they are permanently ingrained. I may not consciously ruminate on them, but under the right circumstances they can be regurgitated.

God is more efficient. Once asked, he deletes my sin list and then allows himself to forget. What God does instantly for me, I have the responsibility of doing for others the same way-immediately releasing them from the debt they owe for the wrongs they inflicted. Who needs your forgiveness, and what’s keeping you from giving it?

Prayer: Merciful God, when we’re tempted to make a list, give us an eraser instead.