Forgive One Another
I have a miniature hand computer on which I figure my finances and store personal data for ready reference. Even though it is only six inches long and an inch and a half high, it’s amazing how much information can be typed into the memory factors of this mechanical brain.
On the left side of the tiny keyboard is a magnificent and powerful button. It is called the CLEAR button. When I make a mistake in typing an entry, a touch on the clear button eliminates it immediately. Also, any information I have stored which is incorrect or no longer useful, can be brought up out of the little computer’s trusty memory and wiped out forever. It is as if it had never been entered.
Each time I use this handy computer, I am reminded of how much it’s like the thinking brain. It has the capacity to store up good and bad memories. How often I wish I had a clear button to press to immediately correct my mistakes, or that I had the capacity to bring up old memories that disturb me, and have them taken away, never to be thought about again.
Then, as I contemplate how wonderful that would be, I am reminded that the Lord has built into us a clear button. It’s called forgiveness. When we accept His forgiveness, we can forgive ourselves, and then out of the assurance of that grace, forgive others.
The question I want to grapple with is, why we use the clear button of forgiveness so little? Why is it so difficult for us to accept the Lord’s forgiveness? So hard to forgive ourselves and others?
Many of us are haunted by the memories of our sins, failures, and mistakes. Even though we know about God’s forgiveness, we are hard on ourselves and the people whose actions and words have hurt us.
The computer of the cerebral cortex is jammed full of memory factors of the wrongs we’ve done and wrongs others have done to us. We constantly press the recall button, bringing up the stored memories to be displayed on the video screen of our conscious thinking, but seldom press the clear button of forgiveness.
The result is that we are not free. The thinking brain triggers the emotions of discouraging self-incrimination over past failures. When memories of what people have done or said to us are stirred, we have all the same feelings as if the events had happened in the present moment. Why don’t we love ourselves enough to press the forgiveness button and get rid of it all? What Archbishop R. C. Trench asked about prayer in general, we ask about specific prayers for forgiveness.
Why, therefore, should we do ourselves this wrong,
Or others, that we are not always strong.
That we are ever overborne with care,
That we should ever weak or heartless be,
Anxious or troubled, when with us is prayer,
And joy and strength and courage are with Thee!
And I’d add grace, mercy, and forgiveness. What is it about us that these blessings are so difficult for us to claim for ourselves and communicate to others?
Right and Wrong
The reason is that, although we are made in the image of God, we have not been transformed by a liberating knowledge and experience of the nature of God. We have His integrity, His uprightness imprinted upon us, but have not fully accepted His forgiveness for our failures to live that integrity faithfully and obediently.
By Lloyd John Ogilvie