There I was gathered there among the multitude of people. I really wasn't sure which group I belong to. After all, I could see a little bit of myself in each group. I felt more comfortable being a part of the group of women who mourned and lamented Him.
Our mourning didn't last very long because He told us not to weep for Him, but to weep for ourselves and our children. Why would he say a thing like that? Puzzled by His response to our mourning, I continued to move along the crowd until I came to a rapid halt. Almost falling flat on my face due to the sudden stop, there before me were the ones whom I needed to forgive.
"So glad I didn't fall on my face in front of them. They would have gotten a good laugh." I whispered to myself.
There was no way of moving throughout the crowd now. It was like being packed in a can of sardines. The smell was horrid. It was the stench of bitterness eroding away at the hearts of the people.
As I looked in front of me, I could see a glimpse of Jesus there on the cross. I saw His mouth moving and I was trying to make out what He was saying. It was hard to hear him at first because the crowd was noisy. I had to focus on Him and Him alone because I knew the Words He was speaking were for me. At last I heard.
"Forgive them for they do not know what they do."
Surely I must have been mistaken. Could He have really been talking to me? Maybe it was just my imagination running away with me. I stood there for a minute thinking that in order to be like Him, I must do as He would do.
I turned and looked at the people I needed to forgive. Before I could think twice, I uttered the words, "I forgive you."
As I'm fully awake now and ponder the image that so engulfed my mind last night. I started to wonder if I had to forget what happened. All my life I heard the saying, "you can forgive, but you don't have to forget."
I then remembered that in order to be like Him, I must do as He did.
As Jesus was there on the cross forgiving the world of their sins. He wasn't keeping a mental record so that he wouldn't forget what was done to Him. He forgave and He forgot. I've come to the conclusion that the saying "you can forgive, but you don't have to forget" shouldn't be a part of my life.
How sad it is when people live their lives holding on to hurt because they choose to forgive, but not forget. Many marriages have fallen apart because a spouse chooses to forgive, but won't forget the violations that were made against them. Prodigal children won't return home again because the last time mom and dad "forgave" them, there former mistakes were presented at the family dinner table for all to see. Friendships that had a beautiful bow wrapped around it no longer exist because we can't seem to forget the hurt. The church deacon was embraced after a great error only to be reminded by the saints of his ways each time he came to church.
In order to be like Him and do what He said, I first had to get a definition of what it means to forgive. After that then I'm able to decide if I'm making the right chose by choosing to forgive and forget.
Forgive - to give up resentment against or the desire to punish; to stop being angry with; to pardon; to give up all claims to punish or exact penalty for an offense; to overlook.