As some of you know, I recently received some wonderful hearing aides. I can’t express how wonderful they are. However, I found out that I can download some software to make adjustments to the aides. That is cool!
Well, I searched and searched, but I couldn’t find the little booklets that contained the original information I had read about. I needed the URL so I could download the utility. so, I looked and searched everywhere. I even became desperate enough to search the one last place where maybe, just maybe, it had ended up.
So, I went out to the garbage can and began to root around. It was very hard to avoid the slimy old leftovers and rotting chicken bones with sauce on them. The smell was atrocious. I mean, I didn’t throw up, but I sure could have.
I apologize for being so graphic, but I have a reason. As often happens, I can find a spiritual analogy in just about anything. In this particular case, I began to think how when you continually meditate about someone’s sin or offenses against us, we are in essence, diving into the emotional/spiritual garbage can full of things we supposedly disposed of, but more importantly, were suppose to remain disposed of! But instead, we start poking around in that garbage and we renew our experience of the abuses in all their glorious noxiousness. Yuk!
But whatever happened to the old adage, “Forgive and Forget“? Well, first, you can never “forget” an offense. It just isn’t possible. However, forgiveness presents a great challenge for self-control and Spirit control to rule together in our lives. You see, without maintaining an attitude of forgiveness, we trade the sweet smell of peace that we were promised to live in, for a fitful romp in the garbage! Oh boy! And, I might add, without that peace — with God and with others — we will never enter into the kind of prayer life we were called to experience.
I don’t know, but it seems that the New Testament makes one thing clear about forgiveness, it is that forgiveness is a two-way street. Yahweh expects us to forgive because He forgives us! Jesus mentioned this in the prayer he taught us. Remember? “Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others . . . (Matthew 6:12). Immediately afterward, Jesus emphasized this when He said, “If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14-15)
Some people say that the “Lord’s Prayer” is the curse of the Church. Because we are so prone to fail to forgive others, we automatically invite our God’s to be intolerant of our sins. That’s why Jesus gave the parable of the steward who could not repay the huge debt he owed his master (Mathew 18). The steward received forgiveness from his debt, then turned around and came down hard on someone who owed him an itsy sum, and even had him thrown in jail!
Now, that is something I could never understand. How is someone supposed to pay a debt sitting in jail? Do they earn a wage there? What good does it do to jail someone for a debt? But ooh, when the master heard about it, boy, was he ticked off! He had turned around and had the steward not only jailed, but also, tortured!
I believe that the lesson here is that if Yahweh can forgive so much — all of our past and future offenses to His Righteousness — we should be able to forgive others for their much more limited and minor offenses (at least in comparison) toward us!
“Oh, but you don’t know . . .” Well, it really doesn’t matter. “Well, well, she said this and this about me. And this was after I loaned her money to fix her car. I try to be nice to her, but every time she treats me . . .” Hey, can you relate to that? Do you have someone in your life who, at least in your mind, owes you something? Do you have someone who has been rude, uncaring, and even mischievous?
Look, I am sure that most of us have at least one person like that. So our God included a little challenge in the Bible. Now, I mentioned several times before, and I will probably mention it several more:
Then Peter came to Yeshua and asked him, “Lord, how often do I have to forgive a believer who wrongs me? Is seven times enough?”
Yeshua answered him, “I tell you, not just seven times, but seventy times seven!
Hey, our Father doesn’t want us digging around our spiritual garbage cans. I mean, even He doesn’t want to do that! Remember what the Psalmist said, “How far has the Lord taken our sins from us? As far as the east is from the west — that’s how far!” Cool!
Now if the Lord had said from the north and the south, you would begin to imagine the North Pole and the South Pole. And that is a finite amount. I mean, it is sure a long distance, but it can be measured. However, if you board an airplane and fly east or west, you would never reach the end, you would just keep going . . .
Well, that is how it is with our sins. If we fail to confess them, they can be as close as the space between your ears. But then again, if we confess them, He lets them pass on through to the eternal journey eastward or westward.
But let’s be real, though. You may forgive someone, and still, have difficulty forgetting the offense. As I said at the beginning, there is no way you can forgive and forget. It just isn’t possible. God promised that He would, but you are not Him.
But, my friends, forgiveness doesn’t require that we forget a wrong that has been done to us. If your grandfather physically abused you as a child, it may not be safe or possible for you to forget the abuse. Your Heavenly Father is not asking that of you. That is just something some human somewhere made up to sound cute or something.
But you see, forgiveness means that you do not hold a judgment n your heart against someone. You do not live in hope that they will suffer for the wrong done to you. You release them to God and let Him decide the outcome, and you even pray that God will bless them. I’m serious. That is your responsibility!
Now, if you are able to forget, that is fine, but if not, that doesn’t mean that you haven’t forgiven them. If already gave you the test for that. If you hear their name or are reminded of the incident and you begin to rehash and meditate on the details (and get angry as a result), then you have not forgiven them. You are still holding them in judgment and allowing the situation to control you. Period.
One clear step you can take is to decide that you will not dwell forever on the wrong done to you. Let it go. You may need to talk it through with a trusted friend or counselor, but you will not allow yourself t9 become obsessed by how terrible you were treated. I say that because when you meditate and obsess on the things done to you, you will never find peace. You will simply be rooting around in the garbage, again. And you will begin to stink, just like the garbage.
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add youm—a to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.