Good Riddance-Part II
Good Riddance by Forgive and Forget. Allow me to illustrate. Once upon a time Bert did something really dumb. Well, he apologized to his wife, thought it was done for, because they made up. However (since wives have the memory of elephants and keep pointy shovels in their purses) once in a while Marge would dig up those old bones of what he’d already apologized for! He said, “Marge! Why do you keep digging up those old bones about the dumb thing I did years ago? I mean when we got married you said your policy was to forgive and forget!” And Marge said, “It still is! I just don’t want you to forget that I’ve forgotten.” That’s how some people are when it comes to forgiveness. They say, “Forgive and forget? I’m not Jesus and I don’t have Alzheimer’s!” What I’m saying is basically this: If you’re ever going to have your own personal good riddance day for un-forgiveness – you’ll have to reach out to that person who hurt you and say, “Hey, I forgive you!” I’m not saying you’ll ever be best friends again, but who knows, you just might!
This makes me think of the church member I knew who cheated on his wife. Not just once, but all the time. Nobody knew, and when it came out we all were shocked! I mean none of us could believe it. Well, the church leadership decided it would be best if he took a leave of absence, until he saw the error of his ways, and repented of his sin. We all thought their marriage was over. We even told her she had every Biblical reason to take him to divorce court as soon as possible. I mean, we thought, how could she ever trust this lying, cheating skirt chaser ever again? But listen here! Talk about your forgive and forget! She went and told her Pastor, “If Jesus can forgive me - I can forgive him.” We were all flabbergasted, but why be flabbergasted when somebody does the Christian thing? They should be applauded! Well, they got back together, and as far as I know they’ve been happily ever after sice!
That’s why when speaking of the “Christian thing,” Paul uses the words “forgive” or “forgiven” 4 times in 2 Corinthians 2:10. Here it is: “Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive, for indeed I have been forgiven anything. I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ.” What’s Pastor Paul talking about here? He’s saying we need to forgive others as quickly as we expect God to forgive us! You see, it doesn’t make it any easier to forgive somebody after we’ve made them jump through hoops to earn our forgiveness. I can tell you this: Life becomes a lot easier when you learn to accept the apology you never got! You see if Jesus can forgive us; we’ve got to try and forgive them … apology or not.
The Bible puts it plain as day in Matthew 6:14-15 where it says, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly father will forgive you; but if you refuse to forgive others, your father will not forgive yours.” In other words – we forgive because we’ve been forgiven! We release others of their sins, because Jesus has released the sins we did against him. His love covers our sins just like his love covers their sins. Put it this way: To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in us. Are you ready for what I’m about to say? I mean I’m going to smack us all right in the face when I say, THERE’S NO SIN THAT’S BEEN DONE TO YOU - THAT YOU HAV’NT DONE TO GOD! Now maybe once we wrap our heads and hearts around that; we can have our very own happy good riddance to un-forgiveness day! See Part III next week.