FORGIVENESS IS NOT FORGETTING
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Isaiah 43:25
How much do you feel pressure to be Jesus? It can be overwhelming if there is a legalistic bone in my body. Satan also suggests that God will only love me if I’m making progress. Never is there any more pressure felt than for the saint who tried to be like God to (as we call it) ‘forgive and forget.’ Of the many myths surrounding forgiveness, this is one of the most destructive.
I can believe that if I’ve really forgiven someone, I won’t think about what they’ve done. And if I do, I won’t feel any pain. I fear that if that event goes through my mind every so often, this is somehow sinful. All of this hinges for us on words like these from Isaiah about God casting all our sins behind His back. It’s necessary to understand what’s behind the words.
The concept is that when I repent and ask for mercy, God takes the sins that separated me from Him and puts them behind His back, out of sight. He will never bring them out again, hold them up to my face and say, “Remember what you did!?” They are forgiven, out of sight, and no longer an issue between us.
It’s an interesting question, putting this aside, as to whether or not God could forget something anyway. And I contend that aside from a medical issue, how can I? Remembering the offense in order to feed my bitterness is different than remembering an offense for the sake of the pursuit of wisdom. The forgiveness process includes God walking me through the offense, and my response to it, piece by piece. The Holy Spirit uses ‘remembrance of details’ to teach me about my offenders and to also reveal my own heart to me. Such golden wisdom is learned when I look to the Spirit, and to His counsel in scripture, for revelation. The wisdom gained is what scripture refers to as the ‘treasures of the darkness.’
If I consider my worst hurt and what was done against me, and if I track the instruction given by the Holy Spirit, I find that my own soul and spirit are rich enough to write a book. If you have forgiven others after something horrendous, you are also rich in wisdom and could give lengthy instruction to others in the area of your pain. That’s be ‘We remember and our scars make us wise.’
Never am I more teachable than when I’m hurting. Maximize this opportunity, Lord. Amen
Originally published Wednesday, 29 May 2019.