It’s Right There In The Bible! NOT! Part 5

Here is one of the most challenging things that simply are not in the Bible. You may want to don your Personal Protection Equipment for this one:

God wants me to forgive others, but He doesn’t expect me to forget it.

See, I told you this was the most difficult one–and it’s one that I struggle with perhaps the most. It definitely falls into the category of “Things I wish was not in The Bible!” One of our justifications for believing this is that God gave us the ability to remember, so surely He doesn’t expect us to forget when someone wounds us. But then, there’s this Text that fits my definition of “Things I wish was not in The Bible!”

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)

And how does God forgive us? Just look at Jeremiah 31:34 to see: “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” Tough and hard, isn’t it? So we come to another justification to alleviate our duty and responsibility: “He’s God and I’m not! God can forget, but I just can’t!” Granted, we cannot just forget–a truth I was painfully reminded of last week when an old wound opened up.

But there is a way to forgive and forget. It’s in how we treat the memory of the wound. Let me tell your a true story–a short one. I was only 6 years old when my Papa Burbank died. I was sad when it happened. But when I remember “Papa Banks” (that’s what I called him), the memory is me with him in his blacksmith shop. I remember him turning the bellows handle–the coals getting hotter–and the smell of that coal and coke. I not only smell it, I can taste it. Remembering him doesn’t make me sad, it makes me smile.

My point is, it’s not in the forgetting but in how we respond to the memory. When we remember how someone wounded us, we choose how we respond to that memory. We can either open that wound back up and feel the heat–and like I watched in Papa Bank’s smithy shop–the let all that resentment and bitterness grow and glow hotter. OR–we can respond by remembering how God has forgiven us.

We choose how we respond to our memories. It’s about maturing to the point when we remember the wound–but without the pain. It’s about releasing our pains to the One who was pained by us as He hung upon that Cross. It’s not easy to get to this point–trust me; I still struggle. Not easy–but it is possible. It will happen as we allow God to work ON us and IN us. We’re not the finished product–yet. But as we learn to think more like Jesus and less like us–we arrive at the point where we have forgiven them just like God has forgiven us–when we choose to release that pain. And God does expect us to release that pain. OUCH!


5 thoughts on “It’s Right There In The Bible! NOT! Part 5

  1. Amen, Randy! It really takes some supernatural grace to forgive, to feel your feelings, and to let the Lord rewrite the story so when you do remember it, the narrative is positive. Really cool how you equated it with remembering your “Papa Banks” and how today those memories make you smile.

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  2. We forgive, not by our own power, but by the power of Christ’s forgiveness flowing through us. Therefore, we can forget the sin committed against us, just as God forgets our sins, by knowing those sins were nailed to the cross, killed with Christ, buried with him, and left behind like the burial clothes when Christ rose from the dead. One of the classic Christian responses to being reminded of a past sin against that Christian–not in the Bible, but still worth imitating–is the statement, “I distinctly remember forgetting that.” J.

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  3. Thank you again, Pastor Randy- My experience with dealing with the pain others have caused me, is a little counterintuitive, I think. I think most of my suffering was the result of trying to resist feeling the pain. I decided to turn it around and to feel it deep in my body, dwell there and in the midst of this I turn my attention to Yeshua on the Cross in meditation and just stay with it- Then in prayer ask that my insistence to not forgive be relieved. Solemnly and not immediately I was released from the psychic pain of resentment. My prayers are with you. Jeff

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