I was recently surprised when someone initiated a conversation and they said some things that indicated that they felt they had done wrong towards me and made comments that made things sound like they hoped I could forgive them. Well, as far as th forgiveness goes, that happened long ago. Then, made comments about this or that being a mistake, that they should have known better, and wished they hadn’t done some of the things they had done. Then, began saying things about how they wished they could undo certain things and some speculation on how to correct circumstances. That they would do anything to try to make things be as they should have been all along. How they don’t know how things happened that created issues only saying things like, “it just happened, I didn’t plan it.” or, “God works in mysterious ways.” then adding, “Maybe He was trying to let me make a decision and I made the wrong one.” Also saying things like this person or that person helped influence the decision and they wished they hadn’t listened to anyone else and that people close to them helped them in making the choices by example because they saw others do similar things and if those people did such, then they were right to do whatever they were considering because it isn’t as bad as what so and so does. Comments were made about how I should forget because all is in the past. Asking why I worry about the past?
Well, I know that people had one way or another influenced decisions to make the person feel they were justified in doing what was done. BUT, justifying something doesn’t make it the right thing and when issues came up, decisions were made and those decisions put me in a position that I felt very much kicked to the curb, cast aside, and forced to deal with circumstances with which I should not have had to deal. Such is life, people make choices and do things that impact others. We all do that. I am not trying to understand the WHY a decision was made. I know the justifications that I was told, but I suspect there was far more involved than I was told. No, I am not trying to understand why anymore, I tried but realized that that is near to impossible.
The question with which I am struggling is not whether to forgive because I have forgiven. The question is how does one forget? How does one trust someone again when they feel they have been horribly betrayed? I know what the Bible tells us we should do, but does forgiving someone repeatedly mean you place yourself in a position in which the same thing can happen yet again? Does forgiveness require I give that person another chance? IF I do so, will I be rewarded for that or will I suffer more of what I have suffered in the past? Do people ABSOLUTELY deserve a second chance without hesitation? If given a second chance, is there no requirement for expectation that they behave such that they proof there has been a true change? Am I not only denying them what the Bible says they should have by not accepting that they have changed but also because of my concern and hesitation am I denying myself a blessing?
21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25
No, the question isn’t if I have forgiven, but should I forget and risk repeating history? It isn’t a question of how many times I should forgive. God knows better than I how many times I have failed and needed His forgiveness, far more than I can count and He always does. He is also able to forget. Praise the Lord that He is able to do so. But, can I? Is forgetting wrongs after forgiving someone for something required of us? If I don’t forget, am I holding a grudge? Does holding a grudge mean I haven’t truly forgiven?
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
If I do not forget, am I not forgiving? That is the question I am trying to answer because forgetting, proceeding as nothing ever happened that was hurtful can potentially lead to similar hurtful situations in the future with those who have caused us hurt.
38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Is God telling me that I SHOULD trust one who has broken trust previously? That if I trust I am following His instruction to turn the other cheek? Does Christ want me to repeatedly allow myself to be smitten on one cheek, then the other? This is the question with which I am struggling. He tells us that one is a new creature when they come to Christ and ask forgiveness. If they truly are a new creature, then is my remembering the past somehow a failure on my part to forgive? Is not forgetting not truly forgiving as He wishes us to do as Christians?
I realize that a lot of what I have written is simply rephrasing the same question in different ways. I am hoping that by restating things differently it will give me the answer to the current dilemma. In one way I feel very much that He would not want me to willfully place myself in a situation in which I will suffer, but at the same time I also feel Jesus does in fact want me to forget because forgetting wrongs is part of forgiving. I try very hard to understand the heart of Christ and to do my best to proceed in that same manner, but I find in this matter it is a very difficult struggle. And, I find that I, in my human mind, have not been able to forgive to the extent that He forgives. I find that, rather than to forgive, forget and turn the other cheek instead moving past certain situations, forgiving the person but not forgetting the past; putting that person out of my life is less likely to cause repeated hurt and not inconsistent with what He teaches. Or, is it opposite what Christ would have us do? I am not getting a clear answer, or, if He I giving me the answer, I am perhaps reluctant to follow His instruction. It is something I really need to pray about and seek further guidance from Jesus on as it is not something I can do without Him.
I praise You and thank You for the opportunity to grow in You and my understanding of how Christ would have me live and act. I ask in Jesus Name that You help me know what Your will is in this matter and that I accept what You are trying to teach me. Help me be better at forgiving and if it is Your will that forgetfulness be part of the forgiveness, please help me with that. Lead my thoughts in Your ways, teach me better the mind of Christ that I may be the servant which You wish and that I not allow my human feelings, emotions and thoughts interfere with my serving You. Draw us all closer to You, teach us the paths You have for us Lord, that we may be examples of how Christ makes us into better creatures, new creatures. Lord, show my loved ones and me our failures that we can rejoice in You and spend eternity in Your presence.
Well, once again, I thank those who read my thoughts. Today, more questions than absolute answers. I must spend more time in prayer to truly know His will. I hope you will pray that He give me the answers I need. I hope all are blessed today and have a chance to be a blessing to others as well.