“FORGIVE AND FORGET?”
BY: RUSSELL MCLAUGHLIN
When God forgives, He forgets. How many times have you heard that old adage? It simply is not true.
Do you recall the biblical accounts of Sarah’s laughter, Moses’ striking of the rock, David’s adultery, Peter’s denial, and Saul’s persecution of the church? All these sins were forgiven by the time the Holy Spirit caused man to write down the record of them. While those sins were forgiven then, they had not been forgotten.
It is impossible for God to forget the sins He pardons. Why? God is omniscient; that is, He knows all things past, present, and future. If any part of His knowledge of human wants were to be wiped out, He would no longer be omniscient. He would simultaneously cease to be God.
What then is forgiveness? Is it not ignoring a wrong deed, which has been done, telling the offender that what he did was all right, or forgetting the event? Forgiveness is the voluntary release of an individual from a legitimate claim you have against them.
When God forgives us, He doesn’t forget the sins in our past. But He does release us from them. He never collects the penalty we were due to pay for those sins. He refuses to retaliate against us for transgressing His laws. He extends His grace – God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense; that’s GRACE!
We are supposed to forgive one another “even as God also in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32). I have known several people whose lives have been thrown into turmoil because they believed their spiritual obligation to forgive involved forgetting.
Stop laboring under the false impression that you have not truly forgiven someone until you can forget all about the event involved. That day will probably never come. But by the grace of God you can find strength to forgive another by releasing him or her from the right or intention to punish or get even for what has happened. The beauty of forgiveness is in one’s willingness to forego revenge in the face of …recollection.
Is there someone you need to forgive? Pray for that person and pray that God will help you release the person for the wrong done. Let’s strive to forgive “even as God also in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32). We can’t forget, but we can forgive.