Monday, 2/10/14 Forgive And Forget
Has someone embarrassed, offended, or hurt you deeply, recently or even years ago, and you just can’t seem to forget it or shake it off? When you shared the incident(s) with others, were you ever advised to “forgive and forget”, even hear that the Bible tells us to do it? How about this quote: “If you haven’t forgotten, you haven’t forgiven”? A young man told someone recently: “I learned to forgive and forget; I forgave myself for being stupid and forgot that you exist.” And I’m sure you’ve heard people angrily, but proudly say that they will never forgive or forget. There is even a line in a contemporary Christian song by a group called the Sidewalk Prophets that says: “Forgive and forget, but don’t forget why you’re here.” I suspect many of you have heard it and know it well. That is a noble thought, but is it even possible to forgive and forget, and does the Bible teach that we should?
The Bible clearly and repeatedly tells us to forgive, period. Whether we forget it or not is another matter. To address a previous question: Yes, it is possible to forgive and forget, but only with God’s help. If it were not so, nobody could honestly claim that with God, anything is possible. Here is another question: Can you forgive and still not forget? Again, the answer is “yes” because with God’s help, all things are possible.
In yesterday’s message in church, Pastor Mike reminded us of the Genesis account where Joseph did that very thing with his brothers. Even though they sold him as a slave, many years before, he openly and publicly forgave them. That he never forgot the incident is pretty obvious to anyone who reads his story. The last chapter in Genesis shows that Joseph’s brothers were still afraid that he would always hold a grudge against them. Joseph wept that they would still feel that way so he said: You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children. (Genesis 50:20-21) So even if you can’t forget what others have done to you, with God’s help you can forgive them. Trust Him. More, tomorrow.
Memory verse for the week: Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13 NIV)