December 29, 2009

2010 Prep: Forgive, And Look Past The Sadness

Forgive and forget. Oh really?

Is that a good a idea, or is it even possible?

Yes, if someone cuts you off in traffic, or answers you rudely when you ask a question, go ahead and forgive and forget. You may well forget the incident by the end of the day.

When we are struggling with life altering events, forgetting is not always an option. A local minister was attacked in his home a few months ago. He was stabbed over thirty times. Recently, he returned to church and was able to step into the pulpit and speak to the congregation. His commitment to forgive the attacker (who has been arrested and charged) was announced. Do you think this minister has "forgetten" the attack on his life?

For too many years, I have read devotional or spiritual writings which passed a message implying if you have not forgetten the wrong someone has done, you have not forgiven them. How dishonest can one be? Why make forgiveness more challenging than it needs to be by suggesting no forgiveness has happened without a "selective memory loss"?

If you are a crime victim, have been abandoned by a spouse, have experienced domestic violence, have been damaged by prejudice and discrimination, or some other life-altering unfairness, you are not going to forget what has happened. What you can do, with God's guidance, is look past the injury and sadness and see possibilities. You can seek possibilities. You can release the injurer from a obligation to pay you back or "make good" on what they have done.

Let's go further. Why should you forget? Make "the injustice" a powerful part of your testimony when you share how God healed and restored you from the damage that came your way. Use your knowledge of overcoming to help and bless someone else who is facing what you have overcome. Don't let your pain go into the waste bin of lost memories. Recycle what has happened. Turn it from a curse to a cure.

Forgive and forget? No. Forgive, and look past the sadness.

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