Forgive & Forget?


Forgive & Forget?

Over the past several months, someone very close to me has endured a painful hardship. I’ve listened to the struggles, knowing that the only thing I could do was offer support, encouragement, and prayer – because that is all I have to give, being an “outsider” to the situation. On the other side of the equation is a person whom I loved dearly, but little did I know, that they were living a double life…portraying a role that they did not truly live behind closed doors. And so, I became angry at this person…and downright bitter, because I felt that this individual had taken any shred of trust and respect that some of us felt for them, and tore it to pieces; throwing it back in our faces as if we never even mattered.

And so, I prayed…and after feeling so confused, I went to the scriptures to find my own source of strength and guidance. In the word of God, I read how we are to raise up a fallen brother. And that we are to lead the lost in the path of righteousness…NOT self-righteousness, because we have ALL sinned & come short of the glory of God…but we are to help direct them back to the cross of Calvary; leading by example, instead of making an example out of them as “what not to do”.

As I felt conviction for my anger towards this person, I realized that the only way for me to find my happiness in God again is to forgive this individual I may not be able to see this one face to face or share one on one, as our circumstances have changed. But in my heart, I still know that no matter what, this is a lost soul, that the devil is trying to use for his own evil purposes. And I can pray for this soul…and one day, if our paths cross again, I may find the opportunity to let this person know that in spite of their actions & deeds, I still pray for their walk with God, and I still long to see their life renewed in Christ.

And so on a broader spectrum, I have also been a witness as a third party to this same sort of bitterness in others. A wrong done yesterday or decades ago can grow seeds of hatred, resentment, and anger, until our hearts are a tangled web of negative thoughts and feelings. We become consumed against this “sinner”, forgetting to realize that we too were once forgiven by the grace of God and that we were allowed a second chance to live a holy & separate life. And yet, we occupy ourselves in areas of “ministry” and we reach out to those that we have no ill-remorse for because it’s easier to love a stranger than it is to forgive a once-upon-a-time friend. We hyper-focus all of our energy, and we begin to fill time & space with good deeds so that we raise ourselves up; with righteous indignation, & we see ourselves as the better person.

But as “the better person”, the word of God speaks LOUD & CLEAR as to our role as Christians. We are to seek & save that which is lost, and we are to love one another as Christ loved the church, and we are to restore a fallen saint…but do we really apply those simple guidelines in a genuine & sincere way? Do we pick & choose whom we forgive, and what we forget, while we clap our hands and shout in victory for all the world to see, all the while, inner frustration eats us up, and we want to scream as we see those wrong-doers from “way back when” shouting & worshipping alongside us. How dare they? They have no right!!!….Ah, but they do…….the question should be, How dare we!!!

And so, I challenge you…if there is some area of bitterness or anger, directed at a brother or sister…check yourself…for Jesus didn’t pick & choose whom He died for…we were ALL bought with a price, and I for one, have personally been extended enough tender mercies in my life, so who am I to deny another soul the same respect?


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About the author

Holly Settles

I am a 30yr old wife, mother of 3, music minister and worship leader. I love God with all of my heart, and have found that there is no better life than this. And I realize more with each passing day, that "I was created to make HIS praise glorious".