When God forgives us, that is an event. Isaiah 43:25 says, “I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” And yes, I know this verse was spoken in context to the nation of Israel, and that God was referring to their national sin of rejecting Him. There are plenty of Old Testament principles that are completely valid for us today, and this is one of them. When God forgives, it is permanent. Because He is God, He has the infinite ability to forget. It is only God Who is able to “forgive and forget.” We finite humans are stuck with a memory for hurts and offences that pop into our minds at random times to burden us with anger, hurt and resentment all over again.
So, for us, forgiveness is a process rather than an event. The first time we forgive someone is exactly that: The first time. Especially if the offense was grievous, or ongoing, we WILL have memories that crop up at the most unexpected times. Sometimes it will be a memory of something we ourselves did for which we feel shame or remorse. That, too, needs to be addressed.
If you remember something hurtful done to you that you have already forgiven, you must go ahead and forgive it again, releasing the anger and the hurt and moving on. Do not allow Satan to take up space in your head over something you’ve already given to the Lord. You can pray, “Father, I’ve already forgiven that. Please help me to forgive it again, and to let it go. Fill my mind with right thinking. I’m claiming Phil. 4:8 right now, and thank you, Lord.”
If you remember something you did, the process is the same IF you have already made the situation as right as you are able, confessing your sin to God and, if possible, to the person you offended, seeking forgiveness. If you haven’t done that, you need to. Sometimes the other person involved is already dead, and you cannot make amends. You can still talk to the Lord, like this: “Father, I know You have already forgiven me for that. I’m asking You now to help me KNOW in my heart and mind that I am forgiven, and please give me the peace that passes understanding.”
Satan is a thief. He will find your weakest spot and keep drilling at it until he has found entry into your mind. You can’t always stop him from sneaking in, but you don’t have to invite him to stay, and you don’t have to feed him. Kick him to the curb. He is trying to steal your joy, your peace. He is doing his best to crash your walk with God and bring you to a place of hurt, anger, and depression.
Next week: Self-forgiveness.