Be Made Clean & New
Forgive AND Forget
The power of forgiveness is found in giving and receiving — of others and yourself.
God is the only one who is not on both sides of forgiveness. He is the great forgiver. And He is perfect, so He needs no forgiveness. It is you and I who are on both sides of this equation. We need to get and give forgiveness.
I need it every day. I need to give it to others. And, I need to give it to myself.
Previously, I mentioned the prayer my friend Scott taught me when I complained about bad drivers. He is a devoted Catholic. His priest taught him that when he starts criticizing others’ behavior, he should pray:
Lord forgive me, bless them.
I have said that prayer many times.
Why Do We Keep Behaving Poorly?
During my senior year of high school, a group of guys and I started to meet weekly to study the Bible and encourage one another. This was following my summer at Young Life camp in Malibu when I gave my life to Jesus.
It didn’t take us long to tackle the problem of evil. We had no difficulty understanding that the cause of sin is a broken relationship with God. But we struggled with the habits that were holding us back.
I questioned, “Why do I keep behaving poorly?” After all, I confessed my sin, but then repeated it again.
My Young Life leader said, “When you confessed the sin the second time, God forgot the first time. He never holds grudges.”
One of the first bible verses I memorized was from John:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
God not only forgives us, but He also cleanses us.
Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
God both forgives our sins and forgets them.
Forgiving & Forgetting are HARD. Jesus Leads by Example.
I have issues forgiving, let alone forgetting the offense against me. On top of that, I have an even greater propensity not to forgive myself and get over it.
I constantly am learning to both forgive and forget. Luckily, Jesus was our great example. He taught us in the Lord’s prayer:
forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
On the cross, while He was dying to pay the cost for our sins, He uttered:
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
Jesus sets a high bar.
Forgive — Because God Makes Us Clean
How many times should I forgive others?
Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.’
So forgive others and forgive yourself because God has made you cleaner than the newly driven snow. And keep on doing it. Forgive AND Forget about it! Both for others and yourself. You will be a much better person for it.