“I’ll forgive, but I’ll never forget what you did to me!”
“What he said to me was unthinkable. I could never forgive him for that.”
“She’s never even told me she was sorry for the way she treated our family. When she does, then I’ll consider forgiving her, but not until then.”
We may not be so bold as to speak the statements above, but we’ve all probably at one time or another at least felt that kind of unforgiveness. What is a Christian woman to do with all the hurtful things that pierce our hearts – the words, the actions, the accusations, the insults? Do we just stuff them down somewhere and try to move on? This question was answered so well at the conference I attended last weekend. It’s also such a part of godly character, that we have to include this in our list and pray the Lord will help us add it to our lives.
Forgiveness – (Forgiveness is huge in more ways than one!) – Releasing another from my right to punish him for hurting me; Clearing the record of those that have wronged me, and allowing God to love him through me.
Luke 17:3 – Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. The teaching in this verse is that we lovingly rebuke someone who has sinned against us so they can make it right. If he repents, we are to forgive him – no matter how awful, no matter how long it went on. Forgive. Period. End of discussion. Don’t bring it up again.
Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. East never meets west. Our sin will never be brought before us again. Praise the Lord! God’s forgiveness toward us is our example. He forgives and chooses never to remember our sin. We have been forgiven much, so we must forgive much.
After the Civil War, Robert E. Lee visited a Kentucky lady who took him to the remains of a grand old tree in front of her house. There she bitterly cried that its limbs and trunk had been destroyed by Federal artillery fire. She looked to Lee for a word condemning the North or at least sympathizing with her loss. After a brief silence, Lee said, “Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it.” It is better to forgive the injustices of the past than to allow them to remain, let bitterness take root and poison the rest of our life.
P.S. Next Thursday we’ll talk about how to forgive someone who hasn’t asked to be forgiven.