Forgive, but Not Forget? Not Exactly

File Jun 21, 10 33 14 AMI’ve been to Strife City. It’s not pretty. When I stormed out its gates, I felt dirty all over. I tried to shake it off but still felt miserable. The burning thoughts of the ugly encounter filled my head. Despondency inhibited me from planning what to do next.

Over time God reminded me that His truth makes me beautiful. This idea stirred me from my dismal state: my ugly encounter for His beautiful truth. But how do I get from one opposite extreme to another? I was willing to be teachable.

He enlightened me on how to forgive completely.

If I want to model God, I should follow His way of forgiveness. It takes choosing love, and knowing that it covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

No matter how hard it is to forgive or how many times we have to do it, we must remember that forgiveness isn’t optional for a Christian (Colossians 3:13).
Kelli LaFramboise
And When You Pray: Understanding the Lord’s Prayer

I’ve heard it for years: someone says that he forgives you but allows the memory to stay etched in his head. You hear it in movies, from overhearing shoppers in the store, and even in the body of Christ.

“Yes, I forgive him, but I don’t forget what he did! I remember what he did to me. I won’t let him forget how he hurt me! But, we’re supposed to forgive, so I forgive him.”

At one time, unattractive statements like that were the way I felt.

Bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Colossians 3:13 NASB

God showed me there’s a delicate balance between the memories of my past that float through like a passing cloud, and choosing to remember them like staring at the sky to see what shape I can make from the cloud. Those passing clouds? They’re there, but I don’t look up.

If I love the way He does, I will apply His way of forgiveness.

5 Ways to Model God’s Way of Forgiveness

1. Forgive others’ sins against us. Enough said.

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25 KJV

2. Ask the Father to forgive the offender. It’s interesting that when we do this, we are suddenly desiring a gift to be granted to the guilty party. It’s not so easy to stay mad at that person.

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34a KJV

3. Free others from guilt. 1 John 1:9 tells us God cleanses our sin. According to the Greek lexicon, cleanse there means “to free from the guilt of sin.” If someone is innocent, then he didn’t do it and there’s no reason to act like he’s guilty.

If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld. John 20:23 ESV

4. Let go of resentment. I’ve talked before about how love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. No running list of “all those times.” When our thoughts want to dwell on it, cast it down as fast as we would brush away a mosquito. Deal with our own heart because holding onto offense can lead us into other areas of sin.

[Love] does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful. 1 Corinthians 13:5 ESV

5. Forget others’ sins against us. God has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), and chooses not to remember our sins.

I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. Isaiah 43:25 ESV

Note: Natural memories of past circumstances might still be present, especially while we are still being healed from hurt. However, if we choose to remember  because we are holding a grudge, that is when we walk through a door that leads to the root of bitterness.

“You don’t know what they did to me.”

No, I don’t. But God does, and despite the pain He is a God of love. Doing these five things causes us to walk in His way of forgiveness.

It’s love in action.

How else can we model God’s way of forgiveness?

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What God Does with Our Sins

erasingWe don’t always think the way God thinks. What He does with our sin after we confess them to Him often boggles the mind. It’s difficult to wrap our head around His immeasurable love for us. But we love serving a God that we can’t measure His love for us, right?

What does the Lord do with our sins?

He puts them on Jesus (And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6b) and Jesus takes them away (John 1:29). He doesn’t condemn us (John 8:11; Romans 8:1), but instead forgives.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

They are removed, not the same as a distant cousin twice removed and keeps coming back. 😉 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12 How far is the east from the west? An incalculable distance, another unfathomable thought!

We have a difficult time forgetting the mistakes we made, and You Know Who likes to try to remind us of them. But God doesn’t remember them anymore (Hebrews 10:17). And neither should we! It’s part of our covenant.

I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins. Isaiah 43:25

I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you. Isaiah 44:22

We are incredibly blessed to have the love of such a God quite within our reach!

Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin. Romans 4:7-8

When I try to understand this it has the same effect as trying to think about how eternity just goes on and on and ON and ON! My brain smarts! 🙂 But we don’t have to understand it, only believe it!

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Photo credit: dweebydude5 (Creative Commons)
How to Deal with Hurt and Rejection | 40 Days of Daily Bread | Devotional | victim mentality | act instead of react | forgive to be healed of hurt

Day 39: How to Deal with Hurt and Rejection

From the 40 Days of Daily Bread Series.

hurtOne time someone that didn’t like me sabotaged my part in a special ceremony. An honor that was rightfully mine was going to be announced as I arrived. The person maliciously changed the announcers list just minutes before the special moment, so the unsuspecting announcer gave the honor to someone else. I was hurt…deeply.

Afterwards, I was in my bedroom weeping, telling God how hurt I was. Through muffled sobs I heard a knock at my door. My parents came in and my mom said that she felt the Lord repeatedly saying, “Go hug Kelly,” but they didn’t know why yet. God hears the cry of a broken heart and that day I learned about how to deal with the pain of someone hurting you.

Victim Mentality

It is not a sin to feel hurt, but I thought it was okay (my right) to remain mad at that person because I was the victim in the situation. When we are a victim of being entangled in the pain of a hurting heart, we have a tendency to cling to our “rights.” Yet a child of God does not have rights because he has surrendered his life to the Father.

The Response

We all experience both real and perceived rejection, both of which need to be dealt with the same way. I learned that I had a choice to make: react with the habit patterns of the “old nature” and walk in the sin areas of resentment, anger, or self-pity?…Or choose to act with forgiveness, love, etc.? The “new nature” reveals itself through thoughts, speech and behavior of walking in the Spirit.

Healing

You have probably heard many times before to forgive, but don’t tune me out! It is the first step in your healing process. I wrote how each time I forgave the same person for the same offense I received healing in place of the bitterness that was trying to take root.

The Ride of Rejection

When you get hurt, it’s like being taken for an uncontrollable ride. When we don’t humble ourselves and respond properly to feelings of hurt and rejection then speculative doubt turns into illusions of doubt, and finally actions of separation. We divorce our spouse, change our friends, or leave the church because rejection rejects. I’ll talk about this more another day.

Daily BreadApply the Word

This section is to help us respond to His promptings. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22

  • Print this Hurt & Rejection Chart as a reminder of how to respond properly to hurt and rejection in your life. It was created by my mother, a pastor’s wife in the ministry for about 30 years.

How have you experienced hurt and rejection?

Our Daily Bread for tomorrow will be the wrap up for our 40 Days of Daily Bread. Subscribe so you don’t miss it!

Photo credit: Amber Karnes (Creative Commons)

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