Forgiving and Forgetting
Forgetting the event often seems harder than forgiving it. People say, I’ll forgive you but I will never forget.” That may not be real forgiveness. While we may never be able to erase the incident from our memory, real forgiveness means that we choose not to allow the memory of what happened to infect our relationship with the person or persons concerned.
FORGIVING CAN BE DIFFICULT!
There are times when we know we should forgive someone but we don’t. One reason could be that we want the other person to take all the blame so that we appear to be the innocent one. Or perhaps we may have contributed to the incident involved but we don’t want to admit it. It is also hard sometimes deciding if one person is the guilty one and the other entirely innocent.
There are many reasons why it is sometimes difficult to forgive another person for what has happened, or even to say, ‘I am sorry.’ But if we are a believer in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, who lives within us, can give us the grace, strength and power to forgive or to seek forgiveness.
CHRISTS WORDS TO US ALL
Look at this phrase in the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ – forgive us… as we forgive those who sin against us.” (Matthew 6:12) We do not earn God’s forgiveness by forgiving others, but in the same generous, loving, continuing way in which God deals with us, we, as His children, must learn to forgive others. We expect God to act quickly when we ask for forgiveness. We are generally much slower to forgive those who offend us.
Christ also said, “If you forgive those who sin against your Heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Heavenly Father will not forgive your sins.” He did not mean we can earn forgiveness but rather God cannot overlook an unChristlike, unforgiving spirit. When we act in such a way, it is our fellowship with Him which suffers and becomes blocked. Forgiving others opens the door of intimate fellowship once again.
The greatest example of forgiveness is seen at Calvary. When the soldiers started nailing Christ to the cross, He said “Father, forgive these men. They really don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) Reading the text, it would seem Christ kept on saying that until the executioners had finished their terrible work. Remember, the one who spoke those words is still the one who can help us say, ‘I forgive you.’
FORGIVING AND FORGETTING
Often a person may sincerely forgive another person for what they may have done or said and may have even said; “Let’s forget about it and go on with our lives.”But is it easy to forget some deep wrong that has hurt you very much? To erase that wrong completely from your mind will never be easy, but try honestly to put it behind you. Then whenever a thought of that incident comes to your mind, you should quickly say to yourself – ‘that’s in the past and I’m not going to bring it up again. I am not going to think about it after all this time.’ Ask God to help you put it behind you and to keep it there. He will help you if you ask Him. He said that about our sins which He has forgiven: “Your sins I remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:12) By that He means He will not hold those sins against you ever again. Isn’t that what we need to do also?
THE CERTAINTY OF GOD’S FORGIVING POWER
The need to forgive ourselves is absolutely essential if we are to show the reality of Christ and God’s forgiveness in our lives. The Psalmist said, “He does not treat us as our sins deserve. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from, us.” (Psalms 103:10, 12) Another passage says that “He has buried our sins in the depth of the sea” (Micah 7:19). Someone said “He erected a sign which said NO FISHING.
If that is how God has dealt with our sins why do we go on looking inward and focus only on what we may have done or not done in the past? Let’s return to 1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.”Believe those words – if you find difficulty in doing so, ask the Lord to help you believe them and He will.
Remember, forgive those you need to forgive.
Forgive yourself for past events Trust God for forgiveness and for the future.
Never forget – FORGIVENESS IS THE KEY TO FREEDOM.
Written: Egerton C. Long
Excerpt from Booklet: Forgiveness
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