“Forgive and forget” is a lot easier said than done. In fact, most of the time we either forgive and can’t forget or we attempt to forget yet we don’t forgive. If you
consistently bring an old matter up, you have not truly forgiven the one who hurt you. You know, forgiveness is one of the hardest disciplines to practice. We are so bent on justice that we forget we are to forgive others and let God take control of the situation. It makes sense to us to “get back” at whoever has hurt us. In fact, it may not even be as healthy as you think to “forgive and forget!” Forgiving somebody does not mean you have to forget that it happened. Many times it’s impossible to forget what happened. But if one does not truly forgive an individual, we plan to strike back at them.
There is a story told of two men named Paul and John. One day, Paul sawed down a tree which adjoined their two properties. The tree fell and smashed John’s lounge windows. John stormed out of his house and hollered at Paul. Paul hollered at John and soon they each had each other by the clothes. Finally, John threw Paul to the ground. After Paul got up and brushed himself off, he said to John, “Now look here, John, it’s high time one of us acted like a Christian!” He paused for a moment, then glared at his neighbor and said, “So, why don’t you turn your left cheek and let me punch you!?”
As comical as this is, we have all felt this way before. We have all been so angry that we would rather knock somebody out then forgive them. This, however, is not the attitude of a follower of Christ. Hebrews 12:14-15 tells us: “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Paul is warning us to not allow bitterness to come betweens us in anyway because it is like poison and will lead to destruction. Allowing bitterness in your life (and in this congregation) can and will destroy our joy, peace, and relationship with Christ Jesus. In fact, Christ says that if we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us! I hope you think about the forgiveness you have received and the forgiveness you are to give others as we spend time in worship this morning. Are you the forgiving follower of Christ that you are called to be?
“Try great things for God and expect great things from Him!”