Forgiving and forgetting

Hebrews 10:12-18, Matthew 18:21-34

Does forgiving mean forgetting? How difficult is it to truly forgive someone an offense against you if you are not willing to forget it? As the situation remains stuck in the far reaches of your memory, it is bound to pop up from time to time. With that, certainly there is opportunity for the pain and anger to return. If and when it does, is the forgiveness you’ve extended real?

Jesus had compassion for sinners; he had love for those who spoke out against him. Even as sinners came to be with Jesus, he never held anything against them. Yes, he pointed out their sin, and he taught them a better way. Jesus had compassion for those who recognized their need for mercy, those who knew him as Lord, and then repented. He forgave them their sins, empowering them to go and sin no more. What’s more, Jesus even had compassion for those lost in their sin. We see this so vividly at the cross when Jesus prays for those crucifying him; “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

Today it is our turn. Following the example of Christ Jesus, we too are to forgive. Even as we hold one another accountable, we cannot forget that we too are sinners in need of God’s grace. Forgiving and forgetting means that as we forgive those who do us wrong, we cannot forget that we too have done wrong towards others. It’s certainly not easy to forgive. It’s even harder to forget. Remember, even as we ought to forget those sins against us, we also hope others forget the sins we commit against them.

Prayer: Holy God, forgive us as we forgive those who sin against us, that we may remember their sin no more. Amen.

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