By Bradley Shotts
For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. – Hebrews 8:12
What Jesus forgives, God chooses not to remember. How refreshing is that? Wouldn’t it be wonderful that after we wronged someone and asked their forgiveness, that the wrong we committed would be permanently erased from their memory? How many times have we heard someone say, “I accept your apology, but I will never forget what you did.” This indicates that the wrong committed has forever stained the relationship and things will never be the same again.
I will be the first to admit that I have done a lot of wrong in my life. I have hurt those that I love. I have had to crawl on my knees at times to seek the forgiveness of those I have hurt. In those moments, I remember thinking, “If I could just go back in time, oh how I would change things!” I also remember thinking how I wished I could somehow wipe away from their memory that this ever happened. This is exactly what God chooses to do for us.
I have witnessed someone telling another that they are forgiven, then in a moment of anger at a later date remind that person of how they had hurt them, bringing up the past again and again. This continually holds the wrong that was committed against them and is not forgiveness at all.
Aren’t you glad that God does not treat us like this when we sin? Once we go before God in prayer and confess our sin, the Bible says He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
The sin is then cast into the sea of forgetfulness, never to be remembered (Micah 7:19).
I believe that if you truly forgive someone, it means that you totally release them from the hurt they have caused; you move forward, treating this person as if the wrong committed had never happened. The wrong is not brought up again and we afford this person the same courtesy that we would desire, having sought the forgiveness of someone we had wronged.
Forgiveness is a tricky business. We definitely want the forgiveness from our sins from God, but it’s a whole different ballgame when it is required of us to forgive those who have wronged us. God takes forgiveness very seriously. He even goes so far as to say in Mark 11:26, “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Simply stated, after everything that Jesus endured to pay the price for our sins, He requires us to forgive those who have wronged us. There cannot be unforgiveness in our hearts.
One might say, “Well, you have no idea what this person has done to me. They don’t deserve forgiveness.” I do understand how deep the cut can be and there are times when the only way we are able to forgive is with the strength and power God gives us.
Allow me to ask two questions. Did Jesus deserve everything He endured on the cross for your sins? No. Do you and I truly deserve the forgiveness of our own sins? No. Yet, Christ endured all of the pain and sin of all the world and He still faithfully forgives all of us of our sins when we come to Him in prayer.
Father, for some reading this, they cannot imagine having the ability to forgive something that has hurt them so badly. You understand this kind of hurt because you have endured it. I am asking that You break down any walls preventing them from having a forgiving heart. Instead of us concentrating so much on how hurt we are, may we turn our eyes on You and see that person through Your eyes, Lord, eyes of compassion and love. Only You can break the chains of resentment and we ask You to begin this process now in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Bradley Shotts began his ministry working in the funeral industry in 1988 at Lloyd James Funeral Home in Tyler, Texas. He currently serves as the general manager of Forest Ridge Funeral Home Memorial Park Chapel in North Richland Hills, Texas. He and his wife, Amy, live in Bedford, Texas. They have two adult children, Blaine and Braylee. Bradley is a member of Rotary International and serves on the board at Shepherd Heart Ministries in Tyler. He is an ordained minister.