There is one theme that seems to be surrounding my life these days. The theme is that of forgiveness. I am dealing with circumstances in the church that need true, godly, genuine forgiveness to envelop it. I had a meeting with a precious lady in our church this morning who had some concerns, and one of the areas of need in that situation is forgiveness. I just got off the phone with a young lady who was recently saved and is struggling severely with issues of forgiveness, specifically forgiving herself for her failures and sin.
I am so glad that God, that sovereign, all powerful, holy and righteous God, is the God of genuine forgiveness. It is a forgiveness that is not stupid or forgetful. God defines forgiveness as the act of choosing never to remember or bring up the incident being forgiven again, NEVER EVER NEVER EVER bringing it up again. Sometimes we think that forgiveness is forgetting. No where in Scripture does it say that God forgets your sins or mine; it says that He chooses not to remember them anymore. Praise God that He chooses not to remember, He chooses never to throw my past, present or future failures up in my face when I come to Him. He never refuses to act or work on my behalf or in my life because of sins that have been washed by the blood of Jesus, my eternal substitute.
I believe that the hardest aspect of forgiveness is self-forgiveness. The act of forgiving oneself after we have sought and received the forgiveness of God. Question one: "Who am I to refuse to forgive myself when the God of the universe has already forgiven me?" If God can forgive me, I ought to forgive myself and move on for His honor and glory. Question two: "Who do I think I am that I would refuse to forgive someone else when God has offered so great a forgiveness (salvation) to them and to me?" (I must be crazy to live my life with unforgiveness in my heart! And you must be too.)
Remember Jesus said that if we will not forgive others we will not be forgiven. Maybe that is one of the reasons so many in the church are so miserable today; they are carrying a burden not meant to carry because they refuse to forgive.