While recently visiting my other home-Ruston, I asked the question of a room full of Godly women--
"How do you know you have forgiven someone, if you unable to leave the thoughts of your betrayal behind-does that mean you have failed in your endeavor?"
I have always heard you will forget if you truly forgive--but I am unable to forget---thus the questioning.
One of these dear friends sent me this site today---it is only 7 minutes long--AND contains a valuable lesson.
I listened to these wise words---and came away with a new appreciation for the image of forgiveness.
Forgiveness does not hinge upon an apology which may never come nor any other attempt by man of "making it right." How we all desire to be vindicated with the admittance of the wrong we perceive we have been done. While listening to this video, I realized even when confronted with her tormentor and the one who helped murder her sister--Corrie was unable to forgive--in her own strength. The suffering she endured--the pain and anguish and humiliation---the literal attempt to wipe millions from the face of the earth---is there any greater wrong? And then--insult upon injury---one of the perpetrators comes and asks for forgiveness. Was she thinking, "Surely you don't expect me to forgive him, Lord?"
I noticed with great interest, she had not forgotten. Her sister's memory is permanently etched in her mind and heart. The horrors she endured were not left behind. They became part of her history--they made up an integral part of who she is. We are unable--even with forgiveness to wipe away our past and our memory.
She was able to forgive--when looking upon the cross and the One who first forgave us. Through the unthinkable pain and anguish endured so that we could be forgiven---she was able to forgive. She forgave because she had been forgiven and instructed to forgive. Our forgiveness breaks the final strand of control those who have wronged us have over us. It frees us from the anger and hatred which becomes a barrier to the joy and peace God promises. It does not erase the past--the past is in the past--it does allow us to move forward.
So with this discussion in Godly community, I have the answer to my question. Yes, I have forgiven--with no need for anything more--than turning to God and asking for His help---I have forgiven. The past has made me who I am today---and everything about the past--good and bad---had worked to shape me--grow me--and move me one step closer to Jesus.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you