Tuesday, 2/11/14 Forgive and Forget (Part 2)
If you haven’t forgotten some past incident(s) when someone did you wrong, yet deep down in your heart you know you have forgiven him or her and hold no grudges, don’t let that thought bother you any longer. As we covered yesterday, it is very possible to forgive those who wronged you in the past, even though you’ll always remember the event. If there is absolutely no hate, resentment, or bitterness in your heart today, very obviously you have forgiven and have satisfied God’s requirement in that regard. He only requires that we forgive those who have trespassed against us, period.
Unfortunately, there is a great misconception regarding forgiveness, one that prevents many from offering it. Many believe they will never be able to do it due to their dislike of the offender. To put it another way, their heart is not in it. The truth is that forgiveness is not an act of the heart nor its emotions. It is an act of the will. In a court case where a jury has found the defendant not guilty, the judge has to release him even if he personally dislikes him. Why? Because that’s the law. God’s law demands that we forgive those who have wronged us. We do it because God commands it. If you’ve had trouble with that issue, obey God first. Declare it with your mouth as you pray to Him, even if you have to grit your teeth while you’re doing it. That’s it! Let the Lord handle the rest. You may still have trouble after that believing that you've settled the issue, but you have. That's what your faith is for. And remember that we live by faith, not, by sight or our feelings. With God's help, the feelings will kick in later. Just trust Him; it'll happen. You’ll see.
As we mentioned yesterday, Joseph’s brothers worried that he would never forgive them. Talking amongst themselves, they said: What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him? (Genesis 50:15) Well, if Joseph had indeed held a grudge against them, that would have clearly indicated he had not forgiven them. That was apparently not the case because Joseph completely forgave his brothers. He never forgot what his brothers did to him but I suspect it was mostly because they were always bringing it up.
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)