Is there something in your past that you wish hadn’t happened? Something you did? Something you said? Something someone did to you? And no matter what, it keeps popping up in your head, with no warning? And doesn’t it always seem to come back to you just after something upsetting happens?
Well, don’t you think it’s about time you let it go and got on with your life?
Ever try to drive your car looking in the rear-view mirror? You’re bound to crash, aren’t you? The same is true of walking with God (or even walking alone, for that matter, although walking with God is much, much better.) We need to learn from God how to forgive, which carries with it the obligation to forget, too. Not to be stupid about it- if someone has hurt you and is unrepentant, you don’t give them a chance to do that again. You forgive them, yes- that is what we are commanded to do, but you don’t let them have the opportunity to hurt you again. That is just foolish. So you forget it, but don’t forget about it.
Huh? Forget it but don’t forget about it? What the heck does that mean?
It means you first let go of the pain by forgiving, which is the only way the pain ever goes away. Once you forgive, you will be able to remember the event, only it won’t be painful. You will see it as a life lesson. And, if the person is repentant and shows that through his or her actions, once they have regained your trust, then you can totally forget the entire incident.
It sounds hard, but in truth, it is harder to do than it sounds. Much harder. Pride gets in the way, the desire to be avenged, to have the other person experience the pain and worry and strife and emotional upheaval that he put you through. The need to know that witch got a taste of her own medicine! Yeah- that’s what I want to see!
That’s pridefulness, not Godliness. That’s the enemy talking to you, not the Holy Spirit. Vengeance may come, because what goes around, does come around. And sometimes God, in His mercy, allows us to see the person reap what they have sown. And I don’t mean God’s mercy as to allowing you to see this to enjoy it, but in His mercy allowing you to see it so that you can feel the regret at someone else having to endure what you did, someone who may not have the forgiveness that God gave you, someone who may not be able to fall down knowing that a loving and forgiving God is there to pick them up, over and over.
If you can see someone who has hurt you suffering as you did, and not feel pity for that person, then you need to look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are really trying to obey God.
Forgiveness is self-centered. Really. I believe most people, especially people who don’t know the Lord, think when you forgive someone you are making what they did acceptable. They think if they forgive someone then that person is “off the hook”, so to speak.
Not true. Everyone one of us, e–v–e–r–y–o–n–e, will be held accountable to God on the Day of Judgement. Those who have accepted Yeshua as their Messiah will be cleansed by His righteousness, not their own, but by His! Everyone else will be all alone standing at the Throne of the Lord. And let me tell you something- the carpet they stand on will be soiled by those that stood there before them, and when they have to face their sins with no reconciliation available to them, as God judges them they will add to the stains.
If you know even a little of the forgiveness God has granted you through Messiah, how can you feel anything but pity for that poor soul. Yes, he’s a rat; yes, she’s a wicked person, but still and all, they will spend an eternity in suffering and you will spend eternity in joy. When you think about that, doesn’t the harm they did to you, which only reflects their pain and suffering, seem relatively unimportant now?
It is hard to forgive, but not as hard as it is to forget. I am here to tell this to you because I am an expert- at failing. I have learned a lot about forgiveness through reading the bible and observing what God has forgiven, and how He has forgiven. But knowing how to do something is not being able to do it.
So I am practicing. I remember the hurt people have done to me so that I can practice letting go of it. When you first learn how to play an instrument and read music, after enough practice you stop reading the notes and consciously remembering the fingering for that note, and you just do it. When you learn a second language, after speaking it enough and conversing with it, you stop interpreting it in your head and you just know what the words mean.
Forgiveness can be like that- it stops being something you need to think about doing and you just do it. But that takes a lot, I mean , A LOT, of practice. I am still working at it.
My system is to first remember that I have hurt people because I was hurting. I believe people who are hurtful and nasty are suffering with tremendous pain in their heart and soul. They are so full of pain that it seeps out of them, oozes out in their words and actions; they just can’t control themselves. They are poisoned by the wormwood of unforgiveness and controlled by pridefulness, which is never satisfied. It is a hunger that gnaws at your soul and constantly causes you pain and discomfort- nothing tastes good, nothing feels good. It is torture, and they do not have the peace that the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, can give them.
They are in great pain and have rejected the only cure that works- Messiah. Instead of accepting the healing of the Holy Spirit, they dispense pain and suffering to others so that they do not suffer alone. They reek of sin, but instead of cleaning themselves off, they throw it on everyone else around them so that they don’t notice their own stench.
Those who have accepted Messiah have a poncho over them that doesn’t let the stink penetrate, and that poncho is called “forgiveness.” When we forgive, we cleanse ourselves before the Lord. The bad guy still stinks, but not us- we can be clean before God because we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.
And when we forgive them, the pain of the sin goes away; we can remember the act done against us, but the associated pain is gone. This way, if there is repentance, we can let the person know he or she is already forgiven (which demonstrates to them God’s power and love) and now we can totally forget the incident.
Forgiveness is how you get past the pain and how you get on with your life. Unforgiveness is like dragging your anchor; you may be going forward, but there is always something holding you back, slowing down your spiritual growth and maturity. One day it will catch on a rock and you will never go anywhere.
None of us will ever reach full spiritual joy until we learn to forgive others as God has forgiven us.
If there is unforgiveness still lingering in your heart, remember what Yeshua told the man that wanted to follow Him but said he first needed to go back and say goodbye to his family? Yeshua told him that anyone who puts their hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God (Luke 9:62.) So if there is someone you have not forgiven, do as Yeshua told you- leave your sacrifice at the altar and go make it right. And if the other person refuses to repent, that’s their problem now, not yours. You have done what you could do, what you should do, and you can move on with your life knowing that you have done the Lord’s will.
If you haven’t done so yet, please- reel in your anchor; and if it is stuck on a rock, cut the line.
You can’t go anywhere when you won’t leave where you are.