The Divine and Human Side of Forgiveness
©2017 Bill Murphy
I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Isaiah 43:25
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32
It’s said that we should forgive and forget. True, we should. But the forgetting part is what we find most difficult, and rightly so. There’s a vast difference between Divinity and Humanity. Mankind simply was not wired for selective forgetfulness.
Few of us come to God at His first call. Often there’s a period of intense conviction when our heart is being prepared for surrender. If we were endued with the ability to willingly blot out (forget) those early guilt-pangs of conviction, it would greatly enhance our efforts to reject God’s calling! So, in God’s great mercy, He’s thankfully not wired our hearts and minds with the ability of selective forgetfulness! Praise God! (This works to HIS and OUR advantage!)
However, we do forget. We just find it next to impossible to selectively forget!
From my understanding of true forgiveness (Godly forgiveness) – the iniquity is forgiven and forgotten. (See Isaiah 43:25 above). It’s just as if the iniquity had never happened. Therefore, from the Divine standpoint, remembrance serves no purpose what so ever. Think about it.
However, from humanity’s standpoint, remembrance does serve an important purpose. Remembrance serves a useful purpose in the righteousness ledger – such as remembering the goodness and mercies of God. It also serves a righteous purpose on the unrighteous side of the ledger! Isn’t that just like God to use the ‘bad’ for His good!
When we say we truly forgive, our forgiveness is not always genuine. We may sincerely believe it is, but deep down, in the remote recesses of our spirit, tiny vestiges of hurt and disappointment sometimes remain. Remembrance is the rain which waters these tiny seeds, allowing them to bloom into full grown un-forgiveness. We need to be made aware of this all-to-human shortcoming – so that we might correct it!
I believe that remembrance is an internal barometer which highlights the truth (or not) of true forgiveness.
Important truth – Remembrance has absolutely no effect on true forgiveness. But remembrance can have an adverse effect upon unforgiveness.
Remembrance helps us to be aware of our own short-comings. When we want to forgive and when we think that we’ve forgiven, but remembrance stirs up something that ought not to be – remembrance us a spiritual warning to get our heart back in order!
So don’t be discouraged when you can’t forget – and sincerely want to. God made us that way!