I spent a lot of time looking for a verse to memorize for Week 3 of my scripture memory challenge. A lot of time. Although I could memorize any scripture and it would be good, nothing resonated with me.
Finally, I decided to stop and pray (am I the only one that forgets to do that even when I’m doing something “spiritual”?). I asked God to show me an area of my life that I really needed to apply scripture to.
I’d like to think that I’m a forgiving person. Or at least, I would really like to be a forgiving person. But, if I’m being honest, lately this has been a huge challenge for me.
A few months ago I had a situation where someone said some really horrible things to me. I had never been spoken to the way this person spoke to me.
Never in my life have I been hurt so deeply by someone’s words – I was truly affected. I had no idea what to do. So, I just left it up to God.
Suddenly, miraculously, this person contacted me and apologized.
I was quick to say “I forgive you” because I knew it was the right thing and I genuinely desired to forgive.
The problem is, though I desperately wanted to forgive this person, I just couldn’t forget. I still can’t forget
We often hear that we should “forgive and forget “, as if there is some type of forgiveness amnesia.
Only God can forgive and forget.
We have to consciously choose to put the wrongdoings of others out of our minds.
Last week I memorized Philippians 3:13-14 which talks about “forgetting the past “. This is a running analogy – Paul is saying don’t concentrate on what happened, just look ahead. No turning back. No distractions.
I believe the same applies to forgiveness.
Even after we have forgiven someone, the thoughts of what they did or said can try to come creeping back in. But just because they are coming back doesn’t mean we have to let them in.
We can choose to leave them in the past or we can pick up our offenses and continually deal with unforgiveness and all of the things that come with it (like bitterness).
If we want to forgive, as God forgives us, then we must choose to push these thoughts out. No matter how many times they try to come back.
This is where I have been for the past few months – choosing to walk in forgiveness by not replaying those words in mind. And choosing not to allow bitterness or anger to take root in my heart.