Have you heard others say, "Well I might forgive them BUT I will NEVER FORGET it". Can I be honest? I would be willing to say that if we have that mindset we've probably truly NOT forgiven them.
How do I know this to be true? I've said it and I've felt it and guess what? I truly had not forgiven them!
The word "Forgive" means to pardon one for their trespasses. It means to excuse a person from the things they have done against you, to absolve them from punishment. It means to renounce your anger at that person, and not to hold it against them.
So in essence when we say, I will forgive but not forget we are still harboring that anger and we are still holding it against them.
Yes you can take it to the bank that Satan will bring back into memory what angered you to begin with. He is like a broken record...playing over and over again. That is what he's good at. When Satan starts that mess with me and believe me he does at times I renounce him harmless and ineffective over my thought life. I began to call out to God to help me with my thoughts. Satan can't hang around when you are using the Name of Jesus!
I know when I have truly forgiven because I honestly do not look at the person with the same hostility I once had...my heart is no longer broken over what they done or said...I have no ungodly attitude towards them at all and I KNOW that I have truly forgiven. But let me tell you my friend...it is only because of the GRACE of God that I can do that. And ONLY because of Him because there is NOTHING good in me and I could not have done it on my own! That's how I know when I have truly forgiven!
I had a very wise woman tell me once...When you say you are forgiving someone that means you are ON PURPOSELY putting it in your PAST and it NO LONGER EXISTS!
Something I learned all by my little self a long time ago was if I don't forgive them I am allowing that person to have control over me!
If we continue to judge their actions and bring up the past but yet we claim that we have pardoned them then I am afraid we truly have not forgiven. (Matthew 18:35)
I did not say it was easy to forgive...Oh I have struggled many times and felt I had good reasons to do so! We can justify anything if we think long enough and hard enough. But I am telling you this....my lack of forgiveness was my bondage for years!
But regardless of what we feel in our hearts and remember, according to the Bible our heart can be very deceiving to us, God's Word makes it clear on the act of Forgiveness. Matthew 6:14-15 says, For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
There has been times that this battle in my life has been just that....a BATTLE. There has been times that I cannot explain it but our Lord helped me to truly FORGIVE. When I could think about that person and feel no hurt I knew I had forgiven them. When I saw that person and only saw Love, I knew I had forgiven them. When the past no longer held me in bondage I knew I had forgiven them. WHAT A SWEET PEACE and HEALING FOR ME! And I said FOR ME! Sometimes the act of forgiveness is for US and US ALONE!
In closing today I just want to say that this is not by accident that the Lord have me to blog about forgiveness or the lack of. Not only have I had to examine my own heart and God is steady working on me in different areas of my life but there is someone reading this post that needs this right now. I don't know who but I have learned over the years of walking with the Lord that God doesn't make mistakes. Funny at how when He gives His servants a message to share that He is working on the servant's heart as well! As I tell my sweet ladies in Bible Study when teaching..."I am talking to the choir first ladies! They know that means "I'm talking to myself first".
Oh my friends...The older I get the more I realize that....LIFE IS SHORT....JUST TOO SHORT! Let's learn to "get well" through the act of forgiveness!
Hugs and blessings, Cindy