Monday, July 26, 2010

Forgive and Forget

Recently I read a devotional to the boys about forgiving and forgetting. It brought about an interesting discussion. Which is harder for you to do, to forgive or to forget? Looking at this through the minds of a 9 & 11 year old was truly eye opening.

When we hold offenses towards people it only hurts us and in time becomes like a poison in our hearts. Unforgiveness left unchecked grows destructive roots deep in the hearts of its victims. God doesn’t want us to keep a list or record of everyone who has wronged us and what they have done. He wants us to be free from offense.

Forgiveness is hard, but if we remember that God chooses everyday to forgive us, it makes it a little easier. When we choose to hold on to an offense, we begin to allow a cancer to grow in our hearts. The longer it stays, the more it grows and spreads to become deadly to the life and health of our bodies. Offense, initially, only hurts us but hurt people, hurt people. Most people we are offended with have no idea of the offense. Who then is receiving the most benefits or damage from our offense?

I’m sure glad when God forgives us that He also forgets. He erases it clean from His mind. We truly show we have forgiven others by our actions. A forgiving person can forget and move on. They do their best to move on in the relationship with out seeing that person in light of the offense anymore. It’s hard, but with God’s help it is doable!

Forgiving + Forgetting = FREEDOM! If we leave one of these important elements out of the equation we live in bondage. Freedom is a choice! We must choose to let some things go, give others to God, and give some people the benefit of the doubt.

Sometimes you can truly forgive and you can forget, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’ve been hurt deeply. God is the only one that can heal those wounds. The verbal wounds of others can sometimes hurt worse than physical wounds. Healing takes time. Trust God with your hurts and He will do what you thought was impossible. Forgiveness is a process but with God’s help can restore you inside and out.

What should you do when others won’t forgive and forget what you’ve done wrong? We all fail and make mistakes at some point it’s all a part of growing up. But when you fail or fall all you can do is your part… confess, ask to be forgiven and give it to God. You can’t make someone forgive you and you can’t make someone forget about the offense. After you have done your part, it’s between them and God. Offense separates us from God!

Jesus died on the cross to pay for ALL of our offenses and sins. When we hold on to the offenses of others, we are telling God that this hurt or offense goes beyond any price that was paid on the cross and that it is UNFORGIVABLE! I’m thinking I read somewhere in the Bible that when Jesus died, that He covered it ALL even those who have offended us. Jesus sees forgiving differently.

Colossians 2:13-14
"You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross." (NLT)

Isaiah 43:25
“I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again." (NLT)

Micah 7:18-19
"Where is the god who can compare with you— wiping the slate clean of guilt, Turning a blind eye, a deaf ear, to the past sins of your purged and precious people? You don't nurse your anger and don't stay angry long, for mercy is your specialty. That's what you love most. And compassion is on its way to us. You'll stamp out our wrongdoing. You'll sink our sins to the bottom of the ocean." (MSG)

How does God treat our offenses toward Him? He forgives and forgets. His specialty is mercy. Shouldn’t we show the same love and mercy He has shown us to others? Holding on to an offense is not worth the risk of damaging your heart.

Who do you need to forgive today? Who have you held offenses toward that you need to let go of? Do you show forgiveness to others by forgetting those offenses and giving them to God? This is not an easy task, but with God all things are possible.

I pray you will walk in God’s FREEDOM today in this area of your life.

Living to leave a legacy,

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