I’m reading a book right now called “10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe” by Larry Osborne. The second chapter addresses forgiveness. My question after reading this chapter is this: Is it more difficult to forgive others or to forgive ourselves? And, what does forgiveness mean? Does it include forgetting as if one has an incurable case of amnesia?
According to the author, forgiving and forgetting are not mutually inclusive. We’ve all heard the phrase “forgive and forget;” many of us have been lead to believe that everyone, including God, should develop a case of amnesia when it comes to our sins.
That’s not what the Bible says though.
So which is it? Is it easier to forgive ourselves when we err, or to forgive others of their misgivings and sins? Are we really our own worst enemies? How is it I can remember my every shortcoming and sin, but I can’t remember where I put my keys?
I like how the apostle Paul also shares his frustrations in Romans 7 over his apparent inability to avoid sin: “The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin,” Paul writes in Romans 7:14 (NLT). He continues: “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”
Sounds to me like Paul can’t forgive himself for his own shortcomings and sin. But thank God that Paul continued his thought process and wrote Romans 8, because it’s there that we read about how God does not condemn those of us who belong to Christ. It doesn’t mean that I have a license to sin (go back and read Chapter 6 of Romans); what it does mean is what we read in Psalms 103 is very much true, that “as far as the east is from the west, so far has (God) removed our transgressions from us.”
The short answer in all this has to do with the spiritual battle that we’re in. Ephesians lays this out, and then caps it in Chapter 6 by encouraging us to put on our spiritual battle uniform.
While we may never forget our shortcomings and our sins, it’s very comforting to know that God says in Romans 8:1: “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”