When God forgives our sins, the Bible says that He does not remember our sins any more:
No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,"
declares the LORD.
"For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more."
Isaiah 43: 25
"I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.
And here's my favorite verse about how God doesn't hold our sins against us:
as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
You may ask why doe I bring these verses up today? Well, last night I accidentally deleted some pictures off my camera. These were not just pictures I took for fun, but ones that I took for church of each person from my church who is going to Peru this summer. Needless to say, I was not happy that I had deleted these pictures. They can be taken again, but that would involve tracking down 14 people on Sunday and getting their pictures again - not something I wanted to do.
This is not the first time I've had camera card memory problems. My brother Elijah was able to find a program to get into the code and somewhat manually recreate the pictures. I certainly didn't want to do that especially since it's a 512MB card and would take a long time, but I was willing to try. So, I found his instructions that he had so kindly blogged and tried to follow them. Unfortunately I found that I couldn't figure out how to get the computer to recognize my camera as a network drive and so finally decided to buy a card reader.
Well, today after purchasing the card reader, I searched for other freeware that might be a little easier to use. After trying about 5 programs that were either free or appeared to be at first, I finally found an awesome free program called ZAR (Zero Assumption Recovery)! I highly recommend it!
At first it hung up my computer, but I found a note that the following should be done for it to run faster: Start ZAR, on the first screen pick "Advanced configuration". Under "Image recovery" set "End-of-file detection" to "None - leave as is". Under "Common filesystem analysis" set "Cluster ... detection threshold" to 100%.)
With only a little setup, it automatically recovered 468 pictures taken over a period of the last 4 years! When you delete something on a memory card, it's not really ever gone (until it's written over again I guess).
So here's where the loose object lesson comes in for me. I pressed delete on the camera, and the pictures appeared to be deleted (or forgotten). However, these same pictures can be remembered if the right program is used. When God forgives our sins, he will never use them against us again. It's not as if we can do something that will cause God to run a file recover on us. He will never use those sins to condemn us after having forgiven us of our sins. Now, since God is all-knowing, I don't think he forgets our sins in the same way we might forget a phone number or a person's name. The NIV uses the phrase to "remember no more" and "remove transgressions." It sounds like God choses not to recall our sins or to think about them when he sees us.
So though the parallel is somewhat there - neither God nor the memory card really forgets - the reality is that the memory card can be tricked into revealing what was deleted, but God choses to not remember our sins! What a wonderful God we serve!