I didn’t plan on devoting so much of January to this subject, but it is what it is and here we are with a third look at one of the more critical components to Christendom. We must be a forgiving people but, as said a couple weeks ago, forgiveness—according to the doctrine of Christ—is something that can only be given to the penitent. To the impenitent, it is mercy they get from us. Of course, that’s not even the hardest part about forgiveness for many people; the idea of forgiving and “forgetting” is where a lot of folks get tangled up. But look at it this way, you will never have a mind as perfect as God’s, and in fact God remembers better than we ever will, which means we’re better at forgetting than God is!

How do you like that?!

Remember last week’s article, when I said this…

That’s “remember sins no more.” It means God will not bring them up again, to judge you with them again

And remember in article two weeks ago, when I said this…

Forgiveness is conditional. It has always been conditional.

Yeah, about that: Forgiveness isn’t the only thing that’s conditional; forgetting is conditional too…

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, “Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.”
Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, “Pay me that thou owest.”
And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.”
And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, “O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?”

And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Matthew 18:23-35

The lord forgave the massive debt owed to him by his servant. At that point the debt was gone and would never be brought up against him again: Forgiven and forgotten. But then, after that, the forgiven servant refused to show the same compassionate heart to the one who owed him (a much smaller amount) and, when the lord found out, he revoked the prior forgiveness and punished the unloving servant with the punishment that he would have received had he never been forgiven in the first place.

The parable is a stark reminder that God’s willingness to “forgive and forget” is conditional, and entirely dependent on how we respond to being given such an undeserved blessing. If someone wrongs us and repents, we must forgive them. We must strike it from the record and never bring it up again. It must be as though it never happened. That’s “forgive and forget.” We must do this because, if we do not, then all the sins we committed against God—sins which we previously washed away in His blood—will be un-forgiven and un-forgotten, and will condemn our souls in the final day.

That’s how critical it is that we be a people who forgive and forget.

We can’t forgive the debts and crimes of those who don’t ask for it, but when sought for, it is the obligation of Jesus’ people to act like Jesus, and to forgive every trespass that a penitent heart brings our way.

~ Matthew