Forgive and (don't) forget.

February 04, 2010

I have a tendency to hold grudges. I have a tendency to be offended for too long. I have a tendency to hold onto my forgiveness like it is something that is to be earned and worked for.

I soak things in for a while before I react. I don’t want to lash out, say the wrong thing or make the situation worse, so I sit back and mull over my thoughts and feelings until they make sense and I am ready to spell them out.

Not too long ago, I was put in a situation where forgiveness was so desperately needed and I so desperately did not want to give it. I laid in bed asking my God why in the world He would put me in this situation. Why me? I was not made to handle this.

He gently, but sternly, whispered, “Matthew 6:14, Jordan.”

I read the Bible, but not to the capacity where I can memorize verses and bring them to the forefront of my mind to turn to in times like this one. I had no idea what this verse in Matthew said, but reached for my phone to Google the scripture.

I read, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

And I cried.

He knows the depths of my heart and sometimes it is overwhelming.

I laid there in my state of self-pity and forgave. Not as wholly as I probably should have, but I forgave as wholly as my heart could in that sobering moment.

How many times have I hurt someone I love? How many times have I hurt Him? Yet, He forgives. And while forgiving was the last thing I wanted to do, I did it as best I could.

I tend to see forgiveness as giving the other person a pass, an easy way out, letting them off the hook. If I forgive, they will think that what they did was okay and that the hurt I feel is gone. But it’s not. The hurt is still there, very much there. What’s gone are the chains holding me from moving forward and mending the situation. That is what we let go of when we forgive.

We are not expected to forgive and forget. I loathe that saying. We are human and are not built to forget. Our minds’ capacity is much too intricate to not feel feelings and not remember hurts and pains. Forgiveness is not the same as forgetting. Not at all.

So, with that, I am choosing forgiveness. Because my Heavenly Father forgives me, I will forgive His children and myself. Though it is rarely deserved, I will have grace and forgive. Didn’t He?
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3 comments:

  1. You don't forgive to let them off the hook..when you forgive, you're just saying that you arent going to burden your heart and mind with their wrongdoings anymore. Half of the pain they caused you comes from the anger you keep with you. So it's not forgive and forget, it's giving the burden to them to deal with, so that you can be happy and at peace, because they shouldnt be allowed to take that from you. Stepping off the soap box now.

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  2. I love this Jordan. Forgiveness is something I have been called to do lately too and it's interesting when you realize how unwilling you've been to forgive. It was definitely a surprising thing to me. Thanks for this!

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  3. Beautiful post. I read a book recently called "The Shack" a big part of it was about forgiveness. I, too, have a hard time forgetting after I forgive. Then I read the book...and now I get it. I forgive because it is not my place to judge or hold a grudge. God wants me to forgive and let go of the burden that a person may cause. It is His burden...His judgement, not mine.

    *P.S..i highly reccomend the book The Shack. I cant remember the author...but i have a blog post about it on my blog

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