By Karen Polich
“Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until there is someone in your life to forgive;” – C.S. Lewis
Life is full of hurts. Some we cause, some we are the victims of. We spend a lot of time saying “I’m sorry”, or wishing someone would say it to ease the pain they have caused.
Pastor Michael M. Cook’s sermon series, Dumb Things Christians Say, takes an honest look at why the concept “Forgive and Forget” is ridiculous and why forgiveness matters. Listen to the podcast here. (Matthew 18: 21-35)
Three truths about forgiveness:
- God specializes in unfair trades. 2 Corinthians 5:21, Psalm 103:10
- Forgiven people forgive people. Matthew 18:33, Colossians 3:13
- Forgiving does NOT mean forgetting.
Our God forgets nothing. He chooses to leave past sins buried.
It is hard to deal with pain, bitterness, abandonment, betrayal and every other kind of hurt. Beyond dealing with the wounds, we are called to forgive. Easy right? NO! Forgiveness can be a real challenge .
“Our relational success is dependent on our ability to give and receive forgiveness.” – Michael M. Cook
Forgiveness is a process. It takes time to unfold and requires us to seek God. True forgiveness doesn’t come from us alone. We need God to help us and heal our hearts.
Forgiving does not mean we are accepting what was done as being okay. We can forgive and not put up with bad behaviors. We can forgive and maintain protective boundaries. Forgiveness will not include forgetting, but it does come with freedom.
Are we forgivers? Is there anyone you haven’t released from hurting you?
Unforgiveness is like a debilitating disease. It’s a prison of pain and bitterness that could be unlocked if I would walk the path leading to forgiveness. The person who hurt me carries none of it. I wear it like shackles, bound and destroying my best self. There is no freedom.
“If we really want to love, we must learn to forgive.” – Mother Teresa
God can do anything. He is bigger than any hurt. It may take time, but hearts heal. It starts with a willingness to forgive. Let God, who so freely forgives us, help us forgive.
Forget about it and move on? No. Forgive and move forward.