Thursday June 18, 2009
Forgiveness…Wow what a word! We know that we need to be forgiven and we also know that we need to forgive. The problem that most of us have with that concept is we do not fully grasp it. Somehow we believe that we are to totally forget what has happened. Have you ever heard, “forgive and forget?” Doesn’t the Bible say that “God remembers our sins no more?” Let’s consider these statements.
Probably everyone reading this has been hurt by someone in a way that would be impossible to forget. I could give so many different examples, but in order not to bring back any memories I am choosing not to even give one example. Maybe what has happened to you has even shaped your personality today, how you trust people today, or even your concept of relationships. How do you forgive something like that when your idea of forgiveness includes forgetting?
Let me share with you that forgiving DOES NOT include forgetting. When someone has totally broken your trust or violated you in some heinous way, you will not forget that. Our memory of some of these events will actually help us develop proper boundaries in the relationships that are the most important to us, if we handle them properly.
Forgiveness is acknowledging the wrong along with the hurt that accompanies it. Sometimes that means that we acknowledge it to ourselves, while other times we need to acknowledge it to our offenders. Depending on the offense, our offender might not know that they hurt us in any way. (Be careful of announcing your forgiveness in all circumstances.)
Forgiveness is a choice to allow God’s altruistic gift of love and mercy to flow from you to that other person. That does not mean that new boundaries are not set. It also doesn’t mean that trust is automatically restored. There are consequences to sin with God; therefore it is not wrong for consequences to be present even when we forgive someone. God gives the grace to forgive as we need it.
When we have a better understanding of forgiveness, we can offer forgiveness more freely. When we do not forgive, it affects our relationship with God more than it affects our relationship with others. Begin today asking God to give you His eyes to see the people around you. When we do this, we are able to forgive.