Forgive and Forget
I have heard so many times that forgiveness is not for the other person, it’s for you! Well I think that’s easier said than done. When I was a little girl my sister and I were very close, we played together and we fought together too. We never physically fought so much as we verbally fought with one another back and forth all day long. We use to drive our parents crazy bickering about everything. We argued over clothes, shoes, whose turn it was to wash the dishes, the bathroom and the list goes on for miles. My mother, who was from a family with nineteen children, would always lecture us about the importance of forgiving one another and make us hug and apologize to one another. As a kid, I did not understand why I needed to forgive her, I wanted to be right and get an apology from my sister before I was willing to apologize, but my mom would not have it! You simply had to apologize and accept the other person’s apology whether they were sorry or not, right or wrong. The funny thing is now, I can barely even remember some of the things that little Sis did to me or that I did to her. I asked myself why that is and I just know it’s because I have truly forgiven her, to the point where I threw it away and forgot all about it.
Now some may say, even me once upon a time, that you can forgive someone but just don’t forget. I guess the problem with that is you’re still holding on to all the negative feelings caused by their betrayal. If you’re still holding on to what someone has done to you and how it made you feel then how can you say you have forgiven them and moved on, if you still remember the hurt? I struggle with letting go and forgiving people who have really hurt me or offended me if I keep remembering what they did to me that caused me to be hurt in the first place. I know that God wants us to forgive those that offend us and hurt us, because that’s what He models for us. However, I still have the same problem as a woman that I had as a child, I want an apology. My Mother knew something that I didn’t at the time and that was, you may not get an apology, and you have to be okay with that. You still have to let go of how you feel about the past offense and move on to be truly healed from the pain of that betrayal.
Something that I find interesting is that when Peter asked Jesus how many times should we forgive someone who offends us (Mat18:21-22) Jesus says not seven times but seventy times seven! Whoa, that’s a lot in one day, but what really grabbed my attention is that Peter wanted a number placed on forgiveness. It was almost like what He wanted to know was, “How much do I have to put up with from a person?” I think we all feel that way to a some degree when it comes to being around negative, rude people. We all want to know exactly how many times we should have to forgive someone or endure someone else’s rude behavior before we can lawfully get rid of them out of our life. Eph 4:2 tells us that we must be longsuffering , forbearing one another in love, in fact Longsuffering is a fruit of the Spirit. It’s something that as Christians we should all desire and strive to demonstrate in our everyday lives.
Have you ever found it difficult to just let go of a feeling of offense and move on knowing you would never get an apology? (Hands in the air, hanging head in shame) I admit that I have to work really hard at letting go and forcing myself to forget what was done to me or against me and put it out of my head and my heart. One of my closest friends teases me all the time about holding grudges, because she knows that I have to really fight against my flesh or my nature and let stuff go! I use to not care to let anything go and I was fine with that, my motto use to be, “Don’t get on my bad side; because once you do you’re never coming off!” However, what God showed me one day while I was studying my Bible is that’s a root of bitterness (Heb.12:15) and it was defiling my heart. I had this concept of if you cross me you’re out of my circle and I’ll never trust you again. What God revealed to me is that when I offend Him, or break his heart with my short comings and my sins He never cuts me out of His life. When I fall short of the Glory of God the one thing that I want most is for Him to forgive me and not hold my sins against me. How would we feel if God threw all of our past sins in our face when messed up and didn’t keep our vows to him? I can tell you we would feel awful! We want forgiveness and grace when we fail, but we don’t want to give it to others when they sin against us. I am an awesome Lawyer when I have to defend my faults, but I prosecute others when they do something that I perceive as wrong.
It’s very clear to see now why it was so important that I change my view of how important it is to forgive those who hurt me and offend me. I urge you if you can relate to me and how I have to really work to forgive and let go of things and people hurt me, let it go. I once read that not forgiving someone was like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Even though it was one of the hardest things for me to do, it was one of the best decisions’ that I have ever made. Deciding to let people go so that I could be free of the past has been very worth it for my Spiritual Health.
So I want to know do you struggle with releasing people too, or do you find forgiveness and letting go easy? If you can forgive people quickly tell us you secret!!! What are some things that you guys do when you need to get over something without an apology? Do you have to talk to move on? Do you have to apologize to someone about all the things you did before you can move? Let me hear you in the comment section!