Forgive? Yes. Forget? Maybe not.
Drawn from my archives
I was at a women’s conference this past weekend. During the lunch hour, everyone was asked to write down a question on a piece of paper. The questions were then taken on stage where we discussed them in an open format. We got feedback from the audience and we offered our thoughts on each topic.
It was clear to me that marriages are under attack, and that couples are mending their wounds.
It was during this time that an interesting question came up. “I’m trying to forgive,” the note read, “but I don’t know if I can ever forget. What should I do?”
The answer was simple, but profound. “Then don’t forget.”
Coming from a place of sin and shame in my own marriage I can understand why she would answer that way.
We can’t always forget, but we can use that experience as a reference point. Knowing where you were and how far you have come, is a reminder of how God has been at work in and through your lives.
In Hebrews 8:12 we read this, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”
What that verse is saying to us is that God isn’t holding on to our debt. It’s been paid in full. It was nailed to the cross. If we’ve come to of that place of repentance, there’s no need for Him to bring it up again and again. When a lender remembers a debt he keeps the account open until payment is made. In the same way many people want to hang on to anger until retribution is made.
Forgiving is more an act of doing than it is one of feeling. Even when we do forgive there may be painful memories, there could be a time of healing, there may be legal ramifications, and there might also be a necessity for boundaries.
Just because we forgive someone, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we condone their behaviour. And it doesn’t mean that we open a door for them to hurt us again and again.
Choosing to love and forgive someone is a choice to let go of the hold that their sin has on your life and leave it in God’s hands.
If we are acting in love, and if we are bringing it to the Lord, then we are doing our part. He will be the judge. He will seek justice. He will fight on our behalf.
I’m reminded of an account found in 2 Chronicles chapter 20. King Jehoshaphat ruled over Judah. A great multitude came up against them and so Jehoshaphat went to the Lord to ask for His guidance. All of Judah waited before God: the men, the wives, and the children.
Jehoshaphat prayed, “O our God, wilt thou not judge them? For we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” (v. 12)
God’s response to his prayer was amazing…
Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel. Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you. – 2 Ch 20:15–17
Isn’t that a beautiful piece of scripture? I love how God commanded them to be still and then to watch as He battled against the enemy and delivered them from evil.
Marriages are under attack. Sometimes it’s an outside source that’s threatening us and other times it’s pride, impatience, and selfishness springing up from within a marriage. Those are the weapons that wound us, cause division, and bring on discouragement.
Our God is a righteous God–make no mistake about that. But He’s also a God who calls us to forgive. Marriages will crumble under the weight of unforgiveness. When you start adding up all of the reasons that you have a right to be angry, the list grows longer each day. But when we put our trust in God’s judgement and His system of justice we’re able to leave every transgressions in the past and move forward together in strength.
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. – Matthew 6:14-15
You are loved by an almighty God,
The Time-Warp Wife
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