Pella Chronicle

Religion

May 25, 2012

Choosing to forgive

Pella — Last week we began talking about how we can get past the past.  If our future is going to yield God’s best, we’re going to have to deal with the past issues in our lives which hold us back from going forward to what He has for us!  We’ve already seen one way of getting past the past, restoring relationships!

Getting past the past also requires us to FORGIVE AND FORGET!  I’ve heard people say they have forgiven someone, but they can’t forget (I can certainly relate).  Psalm 103:14 says, “as far as east is from the west, so far has (God) removed our sin from us!”  In Isaiah 43:25, God declares, “I, even I, am the One who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake;  and I WILL NOT REMEMBER your sins!”  Because God is God, He has the capacity to absolutely and completely forget what He chooses to forget.  And fortunately for us, when we put our trust in His Son, Jesus Christ, He has chosen to forget our sin!  I don’t understand that, but it’s true.  I believe the principle of God’s forgiveness applies to us as well.  The thing is, you can’t forget what someone has done unless you’ve truly forgiven them!  Forgiveness is a choice.  And while we may not be able to erase completely the offenses of other from our mind, if you have chosen to remember, then you have chosen not to forgive.   Forgiveness means we choose to release another person from a debt owed to us, and never bring it up again!  This is what God did for us in Jesus Christ!  Now while we are not God (remember that!), God lives in us through His Holy Spirit and gives us the capacity to forgive.  Otherwise He wouldn’t have commanded us to “forgive each other, just as God in Christ has forgiven you (Eph. 4:31).”  You see, you can’t forget what you choose not to forgive!  If you have trusted Christ, how can we refuse to forgive others when we know our sins are forgiven?  Not to forgive is to say Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was not enough!

In the familiar Peanuts comic strip, the whole gang was often involved in a baseball game.  Charlie Brown, of course, always had difficulty in completing clutch plays, and no one (especially Lucy) would ever let him forget it.  In one of the strips, that particular day was no different.  A fly ball came right at Charlie Brown, but as expected, it went right through his hands.  Lucy, with her usual lack of compassion, shouts at him, “Why didn’t you catch the ball, you blockhead?!”  His answer was simple, but it speaks volumes:  “I guess the past just got in my eyes!”  Is the past in your eyes as you face another year?  Is it clouding your vision for the future?  Are you dropping the ball again and again by not dealing Biblically with what has happened to you perhaps years ago?   If so, then it’s time to get past the past!  It’s time to forgive yourself and others for things which happened in the past, and leave them there.

How can you know if you’ve gotten past the past?  If you can say “yes” to the following questions, you’re on your way:  Have you resolved any broken relationships by asking forgiveness for your part in it?  Are you able to pray for those who have hurt you in the past?  Do you remain non-defensive if that issue comes up in conversation?  Do your remain calm when that person who hurt you comes into the room?  Are you able to leave the past out of your conversations with others?  But, if you cannot answer “yes” to these, you have a problem!  And this problem hurts you more than anyone else.

If we want to be free from our past and face our future with confidence, we must choose to obey God and then leave the results with Him!  It’s the truth that makes us free.  The answer to the problems and issues of life is simple obedience to God’s blueprint for life, His Word.  Remember, there is only one thing in life harder than obedience, and that’s disobedience!  Let’s choose today to get free from the past and press on to God’s best!

Next week we’ll see how we can fail forward!

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