We’ve all heard the term: “forgive and forget” but, what does that really mean?
When someone says, “I forgive you”, it could be just words OR is it the real deal? What else needs to happen?
(forgive with your heart, let the person off the hook, giving someone a chance)
And what if we don’t want to forgive someone?
Why is it so important that someone forgive??? (read scripture, then get response)
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins
When we make the choice to forgive, fully – that act frees us from the past and allows our heart to resume trust. Not only does this allow us to trust the offender again, but each time we are wronged, that lack of forgiveness does not add up and compound. But, constant unforgiveness can and often does manifest itself - different ways for everyone differently.
Why is it so hard to forgive - what holds us back from forgiving someone??
(Pride/fear/anger/feeling of being right/control/unbelief)
Just think about these questions, I’ll give a few seconds between each one.
Have you done something to someone that you felt someone should have forgiven but they wouldn’t?
Or has someone told you that they forgave you, but kept rubbing your nose in it – when some argument really got heated?
What about doing something that you did that seemed unforgivable, but they forgave you anyway?
I have spoken to many people who have been wronged so many times that they might even question God’s part of the equation – in fact, at one time I was in that same boat.
In the past, I have asked myself the questions:
Why was I put through all this?
Why did people do this to me?
Why did God allow this to happen to me?
Then on August 18th, 2005 through God’s grace and mercy, I felt like I could be forgiven and because of that, I was able to forgive others. That seems backwards, doesn’t it? What had happened though, is that I had addressed many of my sins at that point and I knew that I had to come to terms with them. I chose to accept His forgiveness. It was God fulfilling his promise and I felt cleansed.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
What I did next, was set down the “why’s” and moved to what’s next. I started going through the people that I had wronged and made it right. Set my pride to the side and got real with my family, friends, my ex-wife – for the first time in my life. I started searching for what God wanted me to do and started really studying scripture.
Ok, so let’s go back to that comment about “forgive and forget”. What about forgetting?
God will forgive and can forget our sins.
Then He adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more."
But can you or I actually forget something that someone has done wrong against you? Should we forget?
Take Away: The Bible only describes God’s ability to forget sins; not ours. So, while forgiveness is commanded (because God has forgiven us) we are NOT God. We don’t necessarily have the ability to ‘forget’. Forgiveness also does not equal relationship. Just because you have forgiven someone, does not mean you have to continue associating with them or have a relationship with them, especially if that relationship is unhealthy, un-Christ-like or un-safe.