Forgive and forget… we’ve all been told that it’s the best thing to do, or at least I have. If I’ve been told to forgive others my whole life, why am I 21-years-old and finding it to be a nearly impossible task? Why is my heart so bitter? I’m asking myself these questions as I sit alone in my room facing the aftermath of a storm that I had no control over.
I don’t like feeling the anger that’s been boiling under my skin for the past few days, and I know that I am not behaving the way that God wants me to, even if I am not even seeking revenge.
The Bible says, “So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them” (Luke 17:3-4). This is hard for me because at times I can’t help but keep a running tally of wrong-doings in my head. Each time something happens I grow more and more hostile. I know I need to work on this, but it’s not easy.
It can be challenging to let go of the bitterness that grips ahold of your mind at times, but the Bible tells us to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32). This isn’t an easy thing to do for anyone. In fact, it’s extremely challenging to just “let it go,” but know that God has created us to be forgiving. We’re not supposed to hold onto residual anger because it makes our hearts ugly.
Forgiveness isn’t easy. It’s not something that comes naturally, especially when we are still angry.
Right now, when I’m finding it so difficult to let go of the bitterness inside of me, I think about all the times that I’ve sinned and God has forgiven me. No matter what we do, God forgives us. I’m not perfect, so how can I expect anyone else to be? There is a verse in the Book of Mark that reminds us of this, and it says, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (Mark 11:25).
So now, as hard as it may be to look past the betrayal hurt I feel inside, I know that I must do my best to “forgive and forget.”
I haven’t always been the perfect friend to others, so I need to cut my friends some slack as well. As humans, we’re all flawed and we must learn to forgive each other, or we will suffer the consequences ourselves.