Have you heard the one where two guys are talking about their ex-wives. The first one says, “My Ex isn’t too bad to me. She is still mad at me but she is getting over it.” The other guys says, “My Ex is the kind to forgive and forget- only she never lets me forget what she forgave!”
God forgives and forgets, and He tells us we should forgive, also. In fact, it is a commandment. Check out Mattitayu 6. After Yeshua gives us a template for prayer, He warns us that we are to forgive otherwise we won’t be forgiven.
Do as you would have others do means not just be a nice guy, but treat and consider the other people in your life, all the other people, as you would want them to do to you. That means don’t remember their sins that you have “forgiven” and move on with your life. And I am not talking about reminding them of what you’ve forgiven, as in the story above; what I am saying is that we all must really forget. We have to put it totally out of our mind.
I think God gave us scabs over our wounds to help us remember to forget. Ever peel off a scab too soon? It hurts, and then the wound starts to bleed, all over again. It’s the same way with sin and forgiveness- the sin hurts, we forgive (which forms a scab over the painful part) but if we keep picking at the scab, eventually it starts to bleed again and we have to try to heal all over. And if the wound is deep enough, and we keep working at it, we can not only take much longer to heal (if we ever do) but we may end up scaring ourselves in the process.
Sounds really stupid when you sit back and think about it, doesn’t it?
Forgiveness takes work; it doesn’t come naturally or easily. It requires humility, strength, and compassion. It is the Godly thing to do. Don’t you recall the old saying: To Err is Human; to Forgive, Divine? Methinks there’s a lot more truth in that old Saw then we realize. God forgives our sins when we ask for forgiveness, Yeshua took on our sins to provide forgiveness that is now an everlasting forgiveness, and after all they did for us, the Father and Son simply ask that we do what they did, also.
There’s the parable about the man who owed a fortune and was forgiven the fortune, but then he didn’t forgive a measly sum he was owed. Do you remember what happened to him?
Leave the scab alone. Make an effort to forgive. I say this not because I am better at it than you are, but because I am no better at it! I still have some level of anger about things that happened to me from many, many years ago. The people who sinned against me are probably dead now, and when I think about what their final fate may be, it does make it easier to forgive them for what they did to me because what they will be going through for eternity is so much less than what they did to me, and so much worse than anything imaginable. How can I still have any animosity against them? I can only feel pity for them. Even if it is a deserved torture, it is torture and I don’t think anyone who professes to love God and follow Yeshua can see another living creature suffer and not feel compassion for it.
I don’t believe I can have the Ruach HaKodesh inside me but not feel pity and remorse at knowing about the suffering of another. It just doesn’t seem possible. I know that we will always have the poor, and that suffering is natural in a cursed world. I also probably won’t do a whole lot about most of it. But I still should feel that remorse and pity, otherwise I need to ask myself if I really have accepted Yeshua, if I really have the Ruach HaKodesh inside me, and if I really have done T’Shuvah.
In the criminal justice system, to prove a person is guilty of a crime you need three things: a motive, a means (to commit the crime), and the opportunity.
Salvation is our motive, Yeshua is the means by which we can receive salvation, and God will constantly provide us the opportunity to show we have done T’Shuvah. We live in a sinful and corrupted world, so there will always be someone more than willing to sin against us. There’s the opportunity for you- that’s where you can do what is Godly and right, that’s where you can please the Lord, and that’s where you can show your holiness by forgiving. That’s where you can obey the commandment.
All we need to remember is to forget.