I know I’ve heard the saying many times—”Forgive and forget.” But recently I’ve had reason to think about it. In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul talks about love, and in one of the verses he mention that “love keeps no record of wrong.” As Christians we’re called to be discerning, yet not judgmental. It gets hard – really hard, especially with best friends or new friends, or younger siblings.
Imagine someone who has done you a wrong. It takes humbleness to forgive that person. Sometimes we forget the wrong, but we’ve never really forgiven the person. Or we might’ve said: “Aw, it’s okay” when really it hurt us deeply, and only passed it by with that because we did not want to acknowledge the hurt, and forgive the person. It’s a pride on our part. We want to think of ourselves as being Spartan-like. Nothing much affects us.
But what good is that?
“Oh what good is it to live, with nothing left to give
Forget but not forgive?”
(Swallowed in the Sea – Coldplay)
It requires humility and humbleness to forgive, just as much as it takes to ask for forgiveness. Why is it sometimes harder to forgive than to ask for forgiveness? Having to forgive means a full recognition of the wrong done to you, but it’s also a promise to regard that wrong as something never done, and to go on being good friends with that person as though nothing had happened, and viewing them as a better friend in spite of it all. That’s hard, because it requires a breaking down of pride, and a continual treading on pride. And pride has feelings, so it’s not like it won’t hurt for awhile.
In the Church particularly I think it is a temptation to carry grudges, and of all places that should be the one where no grudges should be borne! Consider – these, your brothers and sisters in Christ, will be with you in eternity. How then can you not wish to be the best of friends with them on earth? We should be seeking, no matter what, to have the best friendships possible with these. But how can you justify this the fact that many people in the church don’t know each other – and are hardly friends, and that still others that are good friends, yet perhaps one makes a mistake and suddenly a friendship is severed. Must we, as we grow older, be so unlike children as to be slow to make friends? Little children often jump at the chance to make a friendship, and retaining that child-like innocence, most times retain their friends. Why can’t we be like this with our brothers and sisters in the church? No matter personality differences – we have one thing in common which should bind us together… which is that we have been saved in Christ, and that we are all sinners redeemed by his blood, and that we have one eternal home where we are all bound.
How many happy, healthy friendships might have been birthed and nurtured if we hadn’t been proud, I wonder? I too am guilty of this – pride is a huge issue for me. Pride seems to represent everything that we are – when really it represents everything we are not. It is an illusion of what we think we are. How truly humbled we would be if we could see ourselves as we really are – deprived of any respectability in and of ourselves, as low as the ground and lower. Then we would look at those towards whom we bore grudges and we would be ashamed. We would be ashamed because we would realize we had no right to bear a grudge..
Be quick to forgive whole-heartedly. And then be ready to forget the affair. Only be careful to forget after forgiveness and not before.
What good is it to forget but not forgive?
Well I’ll be blest if I know! No good at all, none whatsoever. Does more harm than good.
Just a few random thoughts I had. Not very well pieced together – sorry about that – I couldn’t think of a good ending. Any thoughts?