Scripture: “I have thought much about your words and stored them in my heart so that they would hold me back from sin.” – Psalm 119:11 (TLB).
Meditate: I love this passage… I love the depth of the Psalmists declaration… 1. He has meditated and reflected “much” on God’s Word. 2. Where has he stored God’s Word? In his “heart”. 3. And he tells the reason for doing so? “So that they would hold me back from sin.” Wow!!!
Of the many teachings from God’s Word, one of the most important central themes is on Forgiveness! God commands us not only to forgive, but also to forget. We would all agree this at the outset, but do we really grasp that it was written (not just to agree and quote it) for us to practice it?
By experience I say this, it’s easy for unforgiveness and bitterness to creep up unnoticed. It doesn’t manifest openly like anger; it’s subtle. Like the salt in the sea, or the sugar in your tea, it’s not easily noticeable. It’s like acid, which over a period of time destroys the vessel that carries it. But a true child of God would easily discern God’s distaste towards those who walk in unforgiveness.
There are sins that are evident. But then there are sins that are hidden in your heart and it takes the searching eye of the Lord to point it out to you. When He reveals your sin, don’t cover up, but admit it, that’s the easiest way to recovery and in being restored. Always remember this important truth: It’s when we freely admit our sin it proves we have submitted to God, and only then our resistance of the devil makes sense.
Years ago the Lord showed me I had unforgiveness. I said, “no, I do not; I have forgiven”, but He opened my eyes and showed me I hadn’t. I pondered over the subject, but still couldn’t look in the eye of the person who had hurt me. Rather than humbling myself and submitting to the Lord’s command to forgive and forget, instead I rehearsed wrong done to me over and over again.
I have heard such things as, “When you forgive, you realize that you were the prisoner that was set free!” I had decorated the walls in my house with various quotes on forgiveness, studied about the matter to a great extent; yet when there was an opportunity to put it into practice, I failed miserably – big time! Then as the Lord put in my heart to meditate passages of Scripture on forgiveness with the help of God the Holy Spirit, I was aghast at myself; He made me realize that in His eyes I was just another wretched sinner just like the one who had done me wrong (maybe even worse).
God wants us to forgive as He does if we have any resentment or a grievance towards anyone. Simply put, if anyone sins against us, we are to forgive him or her. If I do, then I stand to receive forgiveness from Him. Jesus said so, check it out: “For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” – Matthew 6:14 (AMPC).
Before coming to Christ, I had sound theological knowledge about many topics from the Bible, and one of them was on forgiveness. I theoretically knew Scriptures on forgiveness and could recite and quote them too, but when I was in a situation where I had to forgive people who hurt me, initially I couldn’t, I was angry and just wanted to distance myself from them. But after I got saved, the Lord started teaching me the practical part about forgiveness.
We will do well to remember that in school we had both, theory and practicals, on various subjects we studied. For example, they taught me how I am to dissect a frog. So at first I knew this theoretically. Then came the practicals, where I had to actually dissect a frog. I had to put into practice what I had learned. I’m sure by now you get the drift… Likewise, we may know a lot about certain topics in the Bible theoretically, but unless we practically apply and live out those principals, it benefits us nothing –we remain immature spiritually. Spiritual growth happens only when we obey God’s commands.
It’s how we practically apply in life what we learned as theological theories (when situations in life demand its application), its then we pass not only God’s test of our faith, but also our character as His child is proved as genuine. How we respond to God’s commands reveals more about ourselves, i.e. if we are theoretical Christians or practical Christians. In life we often get many practical sessions to help us grow spiritually, it’s in those times our application of what we have learned from God’s Word matters.
Let me caution you here with a godly advise; though we are to forgive and forget, godly wisdom teaches us to refrain ourselves from such scenarios and avoid exposing ourselves to hurt again and again. In Luke 17:3-4 Jesus starts by saying, “Watch yourself” before He continues talking about forgiving. We all are quick to point out sins of others but usually are oblivious to our sins – yes, we are all guilty of it. That is why we’ll be wise by keeping a careful watch on ourselves that we don’t sin against God by not forgiving those who have sinned against us.
Jesus’ cry on the cross was “Father forgive them…” and if we are truly born again of God and are filled with His Spirit, our cry would be the same as well! Well, I pray you’ve understood not only what it means to forgive, but also the importance of doing so.
True repentance means that we not only receive forgiveness, but also extend the same forgiveness to those who sin against us, and from then on walk in obedience! Also true repentance deserves forgiveness, and we’ve learned that from God Himself – He forgave “All” our sins! Check this out, “I, yes I, am the One and Only, who completely erases your sins, never to be seen again. I will not remember them again. Freely I do this because of who I am!” – Isaiah 43:25 (TPT). And Jesus said, “Follow Me” are you His follower?
I’ll close by giving the Psalmists take on how to live a victorious Christian life:
Psalm 119:11-16 (MSG) How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of your Word. I’m single-minded in pursuit of you; don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted. I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt. Be blessed, God; train me in your ways of wise living. I’ll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from your mouth; I delight far more in what you tell me about living than in gathering a pile of riches. I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you’ve done it. I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it.
The Psalmist says, “Your Word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin” what have you hidden in yours? God says forgive and forget; satan says not to forgive or forget? Whom are you obeying?