Forgiveness. That’s a big concept in life. Often times, in my life, I find that forgiveness can be a confusing thing. You see, when it comes to forgiving other people in my life, I usually find it very easy. Maybe it’s because I was taught growing up to always forgive, or maybe it’s simply because I haven’t been hurt to the same extent that other people have. I don’t know, but forgiveness seems to come effortlessly to me. (Well, most of the time anyways…)
However, when the sides flip and I am the person asking or needing forgiveness, I seem to struggle much more. I think this is due to my thought process that no matter how many times a person assures me that I’ve been forgiven by them, I still know that they remember what I did, and that maybe for some reason it will or does make them view me differently. Do you know that feeling? It’s like the when you lie to your parents about something and then they are hesitant to believe anything you say for a while because you have to earn back their trust.
I think it’s almost just a natural response to us as humans. I even find myself in situations where I have to kind of be suspicious about something because of someone hurting me or deceiving me at a previous time.
Let me give you a recent example:
This summer, my best friend Brittany and I counseled a cabin together at a summer camp. Often times when me and Brit were in the cabin I would turn on my ipod and we, along with our cabin girls, would just hang out and listen to music or dance around. Well, one day Brit was going to the cabin with a few of the girls and asked if she could turn on my ipod and use it while they were down there. I agreed, and in about 30 minutes when the whole camp was meeting up to sing some songs before lunch, she had the ipod with her. (Which wasn’t a problem, but is a crucial part of the story.)
You see, the band was playing some songs and Nancy, the camp director, had asked me to run the lyric slides while the kids and counselors danced and sang along to the songs. I happily agreed and sat in the front of the chapel at the computer to run the slides. Well, let me go ahead and say that the kids and especially the counselors really get into singing and dancing. So Brit, who was wearing overall’s, had my ipod in the front pocket and as she was dancing around it fell to the ground with a crash.
Now I, running the slides, have to sit in front facing away from the kids. So I had no clue this happened until about 5 minutes later when Brit walked up to the desk an said, “Bert, I’m so sorry.” And with that, she handed me my ipod face down.
Words can’t really describe how confused I was at the moment. However, as I flipped the ipod over and saw multiple cracks in the screen, it suddenly made sense.
To be quite honest, I was really bummed out at that moment. However, before the day was over, I ended up forgiving her. Although, I will admit that I am much more careful about who I let touch my stuff, and when she asked to hold my $500 camera later that week, I had to go with a, “not right now” line. ;)
You see, that’s the thing about us compared to God. We tend to remember how people have wronged or broke us (or our things!) in the past and we are usually more hesitant to let those people back in our lives (or allow them to use our things).
However, I am so thankful for a God who, when we ask for forgiveness, not only forgives us, but remembers our past no more. Hebrews 8:12 reads:
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
What an awesome and encouraging verse. No matter what mistakes we have made in our past, we are forgiven and cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. Our sins are no longer remembered and we are FREE. Even though sometimes we feel like our lives are shattered because of a sin we have committed or if we feel like no one could ever love or accept us again, God is there to love us, forgive us, and free us from our sins. He remember them no more, not now, not ever, and hopefully that will give you some encouragement tonight.
In the words of Mike Donehey, from Tenth Avenue North, God is not an Elephant.