You grow up hearing this in elementary school, right?
“Oh, just forgive and forget.” Okay, I’ll get right on that. My problem is, I have a fairly detailed memory and very good recall and retention level. And my mother and my wife have an even greater memory than I do!
Maybe you are like me – you forgive and then remember forever.
One could say that if we have vivid memory of past offenses, it means we really haven’t truly forgiven. I think that is the case with many people today – they kind of “forget” the offense for the time being, but have not truly forgiven the trespasser from the heart. And when the occasion suits itself to think about that offense, we relive it and pick the offense back up, perhaps with more bitterness and anger than ever before.
So we first need to really GET THERE in terms of forgiving others from the heart. We literally let go of the offense, and choose to let God deal with the heavenly justice of the issue.
There are actually many people who are so afraid to be offended that they convince themselves that the offense never happened; yep – a little defense mechanism called DENIAL.
You need to admit the truth of the situation and accept the reality of it no matter how painful. Once you get there emotionally, you should struggle with some initial feelings of bitterness or anger. Immediately following this, you are ready to begin forgiving.
And when you forgive, of course the truth is you need to let the offender OFF THE HOOK. You need to release the offender. You need to give it to the Lord and let go of it. Just let go. That’s hard for us sometimes, right?
But will this mean we actually forget the offense ever happened? Don’t count on it.
Jesus said to forgive 70 times 7. That’s a lot of forgiving the same person for the same offense. But it makes sense with those of us who have vivid memories. Whenever you remember the offense, forgive. If it means forgiving every day, or every week, or every month the same person of the same issue, so be it.
That’s hard. It would be much easier if we could actually forget painful memories altogether.
Next time you think you have forgiven your neighbor and you recall their offense, forgive them again from your heart.
Who knows, you may eventually forget it ever happened.
Until next time,