We hear it a lot. We are supposed to forgive and forget; love our enemies; turn the other cheek, “And more.” However, is that really what The Bible is telling us? Are we truly just supposed to forgive people who will repeatedly hurt us again and again?
If you were to pick up a dictionary and look up the word, “forgiveness,” you would find that it basically means to no longer harbor anger towards an individual. You will not impose any type of penalty directly against them for what ever it is that they may have done; intentionally or otherwise. So, “No!” No dictionary, or even The Bible, is suggesting that you continually set yourself up to be hurt by the same person, in the same way, again and again. This Average Joe feels confident in boldly stating, “God, nor His son, Jesus, ever recommended anything of the sort.”
Specifically, in The Bible; while we are told to love our enemies, we are also reminded of something else. “God will judge and punish our enemies for any wrong they have perpetrated against us.”
Genesis 12:3 (KJV) “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Romans 12:19 (KJV) “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
But, while God tells us not to take matters into our own hands… He, through His son, Jesus, also gives us another directive, as well.
Matthew 10:16 (KJV) “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”
The message here is pretty simple. “Use common sense when dealing with other people.” In simple terms; if you know someone will do you harm in the same way, again and again, you are not required by God, or Jesus, to give them that opportunity. “So!” How are we supposed to forgive and forget? Well… Let’s start with the forgiving part.
When you forgive someone; you are essentially saying, “I’m not going to retaliate against you for what you have done, or remind you of it down the line.” That is forgiveness.
When you forget about someone’s hurtful actions against you; the truth of the matter there is, “It’s not happening.” We are human, and God knows we are completely incapable of just erasing a traumatic event from our minds. This does not make us bad people in the eyes of the Lord, “So long as we ask for his help in handling the situation, going forward.”
The key thing to remember about forgiveness is, “We don’t have to go it alone.” God makes it very clear throughout the bible that He will help us in a lot of different ways. All we need to do is, “Let Him,” asking for help in the name of his son, Jesus.