“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Forgive and forget!
Such a common phrase…
and such an impossibility.
Do we have to forget in order to forgive?
Thanks be to God, no. If we did, I fear none of us would have the slightest chance of forgiving anyone who wrongs us.
Many people misunderstand God’s statement that He remembers our sin no more (Isaiah 43:25), concluding that this must mean He forgets about our sin.
But how can an omniscient God forget anything? I don’t believe He can. Yet that doesn’t negate God’s claim that He doesn’t remember.
The definition of “remember” is to bring to mind or think of again. Remembering has less to do with ability than it does choice.
When God says He remembers no more, He’s telling us that He no longer brings our sin to His mind. He doesn’t rehearse it time and time again, keeping an account of our wrongs. And He doesn’t hold them against us.
He makes a choice to treat us as though the offense never occurred in the first place.
And you and I can make that same choice.
Is it easy? Often times not.
Do our offenders deserve forgiveness? Not usually.
But then again, neither do we.
Is God bringing to your mind someone you need to forgive? Here’s a little CPR to get your heart started:
1. Confess your unforgiveness to God, along with any other sins that have influenced it (such as pride, selfishness, anger, or revenge, to name a few).
2. Pray that God would help you choose to stop bringing the offense to your mind, and to stop holding it against the offender, both inwardly and outwardly. This does not necessarily mean the relationship will be restored, but that as far as you’re concerned, you’re willing to be at peace with the one who offended you (Romans 12:18).
3. Recall the multitudes of vile, evil offenses for which our holy God has graciously offered His forgiveness to you. If He can stoop down such a great distance to forgive you, you can reach out and forgive your offenders, by His grace. When you’re tempted to bring the offense to your mind again, remind yourself of this truth instead.
Written by Jennifer Clarke