In my last post I talked about how a person may keep a list of all their past sins and failures and thereby become burdened by the weight of sin and guilt. This can be a serious problem… but so can keeping a list of others’ sins and failures. Sometimes people tend to keep a mental archive of everything that another does wrong and then hang it over their head over and over again. This is not the spirit of true forgiveness; this is not the spirit of love.
1 Corinthians 13:5 says that love “takes no account of evil”. In other words, it doesn’t keep a library of another’s wrongdoings.
At times this may be difficult; sometimes it can be very hard to “forgive and forget”, but at times like these, maybe it wouldn’t seem so hard if we remembered how imperfect we ourselves are and how God has freely forgiven us. God doesn’t lord our sins over us, He doesn’t rub it in our faces, He freely and lovingly forgives and He asks us to do the same.
“Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king, who wanted to reconcile accounts with his servants. When he had begun to reconcile, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But because he couldn’t pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, with his wife, his children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will repay you all!’ The lord of that servant, being moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. ‘But that servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, who owed him one hundred denarii, and he grabbed him, and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ ‘So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will repay you!’ He would not, but went and cast him into prison, until he should pay back that which was due. So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were exceedingly sorry, and came and told to their lord all that was done. Then his lord called him in, and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt, because you begged me. Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, even as I had mercy on you?’” (Matthew 18:23-32)
So the next time we feel tempted to hold a past wrong against someone else, let us remember this parable and also these instructions from Colossians 3:12-13, “Put on therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, if any man has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so you also do.”