May people have the mistaken belief that forgiveness is the same as forgetting. In actuality, forgiveness has nothing to do with forgetting the sins that others have done to you. Below I am going to post 10 rules about forgiveness.
1. Forgiveness is not the approval or minimization of sin. When someone hurts you, Christian forgiveness does not mean that others should minimize your pain or just pass it off as "Well, it's ok. He's only human. We all sin." This is a very dangerous thing. It can fester and grow inside of you if you take this approach and lead to real pain in the future if not dealt with properly.
2. Forgiveness is not enabling sin. Let me explain this one by example: If someone steals from you, you simply cannot forgive them and then lay a $100 bill on the table trusting that they won't take it. You should be responsible with your money and not enable someone who has sinned against you.
3. Forgiveness is not denying wrongdoing. Using the above example, it would be wrong for me to state that he didn't do anything wrong thinking "He was just trying to feed his family." While that may be true, stealing is stealing just the same.
4. Forgiveness is not waiting for an apology. Some say, "I'll forgive that person when they come and apologize to me for what they've done." That is the farthest thing from true forgiveness. Remember this: You should truly forgive them whether or not they admit fault. Their actions should have no bearing on your forgiveness of them.
5. Forgiveness is not forgetting. If someone steals from me, yes, I should forgive them for what they've done, but I will probably never forget what they have done. These are two different things.
6. Forgiveness is not not feeling pain. When someone hurts you in some way, you will feel pain. This is a natural human emotion and does not mean you have sinned if you still feel pain for what that person has done to you. If someone steals from me, that pain will linger with me for quite a while. This does not mean I haven't forgiven the person.
7. Forgiveness is not a 1-time event. Like #6 above, most likely, I will have to continually forgive that person simply because that pain will continually remind me of what they've done and will have to really work to remember that God has forgiven them and so should I on a daily basis.
8. Forgiveness is not neglecting justice. If a thief steals from me, my forgiveness does not let them off the hook with the authorities no matter what I say. They will still have to face the consequences of their actions.
9. Forgiveness is not trusting. I will tell you this, that person who steals from me will not and should not be put in a place of fiscal responsibility for a long time, if ever. That would be silly. Yes, maybe after a period of time, they should be given the opportunity to prove themselves if they desire to, but do so with caution.
10. Forgiveness is not reconciliation. It is possible that the person who steals may have done irreparable harm to our relationship. That reconciliation process is completely independent of forgiveness.
Your responsibility when someone hurts you is to forgive the person in love but at the same time being smart and using the Holy Spirit as a guide during the healing process. He is always there for you.
One challenge I have for you is to pray about any unforgiveness that you are harboring and ask God to help you to forgive that person. You will be amazed at how freeing it is and how God will change your heart through forgiveness.
Until next time, blessings and abundance in Jesus!