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And Forget

“For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,’ then he adds, ‘I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.'” Heb 10:14-17

Have you ever been wronged by someone?  I am sure you have.  I know I have many times.  And we are commanded to forgive those who wrong us, no matter what they have done.  In fact, there is a very grave condition put on forgiveness.  “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Mat 6:14-15  Our forgiveness is based on our forgiving.  Moreover, see the parable of the Unforgiving Servant in Mat 18:21-35.But there is more to this issue of forgiveness.  God has called us to be like Jesus.  Paul said. “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Rom 8:29.  We are to, in all things, be like Christ.  Not just to act like Him, but to truly be like Him.  When we read the Sermon on the Mount, we should not read this as a list of things we should do, but a picture of who we should be.  To treat this as a list of rules is to miss the message.  We need to become, through the transforming power of God, perfect, just as He is perfect.  Jesus is God Incarnate.  Therefore, we can extrapolate that we are to be like God, not in essence but in action.  And how does God deal with our sin?  He forgives and forgets.

Sometimes it is easy to forget wrong done to us when it is a close friend and you understand it was unintentional.  But what about that person who intentionally causes you harm?  For instance, I had a boss once, the CEO of a small textile company, who appeared to find purpose and fulfillment in humiliating those who were under him.  Once when we were in a meeting of directors and above (I was Director of their Computer Department), he absolutely excoriated me in front of everyone, yelled at me to get out of there, then proceeded to smile, grab a sandwich, and begin eating.  The issue was not even in my department, but he chose that day to lay into me.  I left that conference room so angry I was ready to resign.  After the meeting was over, almost everyone in that meeting came up and apologized for him, saying they all had gone through the same thing at some point in their tenure there.  They did not have good things to say about him, and it was like I was now a part of the club.  I believed I did forgive him, but I could tell every time I was around him that I really had not.  I could not forget the humiliation he had piled on me.  Eventually I did forgive, but it took much prayer and it took not focusing on the wrong done, but on him as a person who needed God’s and my grace.

Paul said the following to the Church at Corinth.  “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” 1 Cor 13:4-6.  I have highlighted the word resentful because if we do not forget what the person did to us, we can easily become resentful, which Paul said here is not a characteristic of true, Godly love.  One definition of forgiveness is “to cease to feel resentment against.”  God has called us to love everyone, our enemies, our friends and even those we do not know personally.  Jesus was the epitome of this love as he asked His Father to forgive those who put Him on the cross, both physically and also those, who by our sin, necessitated Him dying.  And if we become resentful, have we really forgiven the person?

I am in no way saying that this will be easy, but just because it is difficult is not to say it is impossible.  Many times our flesh gets in the way, and we would rather retaliate than forgive.  But we are called to be like Jesus and love, forgive and forget.  Remember, our forgiveness is linked to our forgiving.  We all need to pray that God will work in us true love, which will bring about true forgiveness.  He will do it, but we need to want to.  So if you have aught against anyone, forgive and forget.  It is much better than resenting and being bitter.

 

Categories: Theology
  1. Linda Funkhouser
    April 16th, 2011 at 22:51 | #1

    I believe if you can't forget a wrong that you really have not forgiven. Also, a sure fire way of judging for your self if you have truly forgiven is if it doesn't hurt you anymore when ever the topic is brought up. How can you forgive someone who hurt you so bad, who should have known better, who was suppose to have loved you-well- YOU can't.But, God can and will give you the grace to forgive if you ask him.Corrie Ten Boon, author of "The Hiding Place", often spoke of forgiveness and it is because of what she shared that I had the faith that God could help me forgive too. It is my prayer for you that,if you are struggling with forgiveness you will seek God's help and once you forgive you too will know the freedom forgiveness brings.

  2. WilliamHF
    April 27th, 2011 at 18:47 | #2

    Thank you so much for your encouragement. It is really appreciated. My goal is to help us think a little deeper about our walk. Thanks letting me know you are out there.

  3. WilliamHF
    April 27th, 2011 at 18:49 | #3

    Thanks for your comment on this post. I think it is so important to realize that forgiveness is more than words. It is a matter of the heart.

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