Forgiveness is an amazing act. When it's used, a person can change a dark and dismal scenario into a warm glowing celebration.
In South Africa, they tell a story about the speed with which God forgives. The story is told in innocence and no blasphemy is intended.
Man : "Dear God, please forgive my sins."
God : "What sins?"
The story illustrates the blinding speed with which He forgives. Unfortunately we, most often, do not match His willingness,
What does the Bible say about forgiving? It's very clear on this matter and the act forgiveness is actually one of the sacred Ten Commandments.
It also says that if you have a problem with someone, you should do your best to settle the difference. It goes on to say that if you can't clear the air, you should go to a senior and use his help to reach an understanding.
God goes on to say that if you don't settle the disturbing issues then you may not claim that you love Him. Now that's a serious statement but it shows clearly how important God rates the act of forgiveness.
Alas, in the real world, we often beat around the bush in a way that does not flatter our society morals. Even declared church goers often do not set an example of how to handle their forgiveness.
Sometimes I wonder if mankind isn't obsessed with the playing of games. Sports games, video games, war games and perhaps "I will not forgive" games.
We may use tactical phrases like "OK I'll forgive you but don't expect me to ever forget."
When that's said, the situation immediately becomes far more complex.
This act of "not forgetting" arises out of wrong thinking in far too many cases. What is this wrong thinking? Let's see again how the Bible addresses the matter.
In the Book, it's written that you should "transform" yourself from within. The great TV evangelist Joyce Meyer puts it like this.
If you feel that you have been hurt or offended and you just can't let go of the whole thing,
then you should think about how you see the problem. The aim of the exercise is to see how you can change your own attitude towards the issue.
For instance, with more understanding of the events and wise interpretation of the other person's intentions, you may discover that, seen in a new light, the offending words or actions at the root of the differences, may be far less offensive than first thought.
Real knowledge of the other's true intentions and a truly fair understanding can often blow a problem away.
In some case, the feeling of offence or insult is fuelled by peer groups. Perhaps close colleagues. They usually have their own agendas. One should be wary of negative influences from the outside.
In many cases, an action that seemed to be based on hate, jealousy or insult may be found to be really quite innocent and that any resentment felt was due to a total misreading of the facts. In fact, it may be found that the other's actions may actually have been based on friendship or love.
Sadly, sometimes a sincere attempt to help by someone in one's circle of friends or colleagues, may be wrongly interpreted as being unforgivable criticism. By taking a new view of one's hurt or insult, it may happen that one sees the error in one's own judgement. In the best case scenario, one may feel an urge to repair the broken relationship.
Yes, forgiveness is a biblical command.
That God demands that an sincere attempt should be made to settle differences.
The attitude of "I'll forgive but not forget" is, in fact, a cop out
A far better action is to look again and again at how you perceive the offence or insult.
Come on. Let's have less tensions in relationships.
Let's turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones.
Who's with me on this?