Hello everyone, I hope this message finds you in peace and good health. In the past few weeks of my life the topic of forgiveness has been very present; I’ve read verses about it, listened to people talk about it and even I have had to forgive and let go of some things that grieved me. I decided to share this with you.
Forgiveness – the act of concluding resentment or anger. Some of us would define forgiveness otherwise, whatever the case, everyone especially Christians struggle with it. As a Christian forgiveness is a mandate, the Bible is pretty clear on that, and that’s what makes it harder.
Forgiving others: Have you ever noticed people who rush through the part in the Lord prayer “…and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors…” If you haven’t, I have. Frankly speaking I don’t blame them because it is a pretty heavy prayer. In simple English you’re pretty much saying “Lord do unto me as I do to others” but in reality you don’t necessarily want God to do unto you as YOU do to others because maybe you haven’t exactly been fair. Forgiving others is hard, even very strong Christians deal with that. Imagine someone close does something to grieve you and for you it feels right to hold it against them. Anger, malice or whatever form of unforgiveness hurts. God knows how much damage it does to you on the inside; it literally eats you up emotionally. That’s why we are compelled as Christians to forgive.
There isn’t really a verse in scripture that says “forgive and forget”, this phrase is a hybrid of several scriptures. Colossians 3:13 “bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Also, Ephesians 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” This is the forgiveness part; there are other many other verses on forgiveness. So where does the forget part come?
God’s forgiveness: If you are looking for the greatest example on forgiveness, look no further. Hebrews 8:12 “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” This verse is also in Jeremiah 31:34. If you wonder where the mandate “forgive and forget” comes, it is because God has asked us to forgive others as He forgave us, and that includes forgetting it. God understands the pain of unforgivness, even He has been burdened by the pressure of our shortcomings; Isaiah 24b-25 “But you have burdened me with your sins, you have wearied me with your iniquities. I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will remember not your sins.” Blotting out our sins doesn’t exactly mean God forgets. Hello! He’s Omniscient and all powerful; He does not have amnesia or a lapse of memory. He acts as though we have not sinned and doesn’t hold it against us. So when He looks upon us He doesn’t see our sins, He sees the righteousness of Jesus that is credited to us. Imagine that God decided to charge us by our iniquities, which of us will stand? (If your response it yes, please tell us how). Sin hinders our relationship with God and that’s why He asks us to be rid of it. Psalms 66:18 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear” Do you really want God not to hear your prayers? Confess YOUR sins, forgive YOUR neighbor. Let go and let God. (Reference: Luke 17:1-4)
Forgiving ourselves: This is probably the hardest. Sometimes we hold on to our own grief so much that we don’t let God come in. We believe that God wouldn’t want us because of something we said or did. Psalm 103:12 “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.” Our sin holds us captive that we don’t hear God say “How dare you not forgive yourself for something I already forgave you of!” God is a loving father and He doesn’t want anything to hold us back from approaching Him. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from our iniquities” Forgiving yourself means letting go of what you are holding against yourself so you can move on with God. If God has moved on, shouldn’t you? Don’t glorify the devil by holding on to guilt when God has chosen not to remember your sins.
Forgiveness is a mandate. As Christians we are forgiven people and so we should be forgiving people.
By Ibukun Jaiyeola