Psalm 103: 14 “For he knows our frame, he remembers that we are dust…” NKJ
I chose to highlight that part of Psalm 103 because it puts a different voice on the concept of repentance and forgiveness; two very humbling acts. We have all been in a place where we felt humbled enough to repent, or apologize for something. Repenting frees us from the internal conflict of an unresolved issue. Repentance says, “Hey, I am acknowledging that I am human; imperfect in my existence, and I messed up.” When we go before God and repent of our wrong doing, he remembers our imperfection; he knows that we are still a work in progress and prone to sin again and again. But, the beauty of repenting before God, as opposed to men, is that God doesn’t lord it over us that we were wrong, he already knows we are going to mess up. The enemy (satan) might send constant reminders, but God is quick, ready, and willing to forgive every time we do something that hurts him. Our part is to simply go before him with a repentant heart. He will forgive, and he will erase those things from his mind.
The Psalmist is urging us to remain humble, to not think we are greater than we are for God is the one who created us and knows us better than we know ourselves. Don’t let pride keep you from repenting or forgiving. God doesn’t remind us every time we mess up how we messed up the last time. Verse 12 of Psalm 103 says, that “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgression from us.” This is his act of forgiveness. When we come to him and repent, seeking forgiveness, do so at once. He doesn’t withhold his goodness from us until we repent, yet we do that to others; “prove yourself to me and then I will forgive and maybe forget…”
Forgiveness is hard, especially when the hurt runs deep. We feel obligated to rehearse our hurt so the other knows just how deep the pain is. The truth of the matter is, the act that hurt or offended us may always be a part of our lives, but forgiveness can lessen its grip and help us focus on other more meaningful, more positive parts of life. Forgiveness might even lead to a deeper understanding, empathy and compassion for the other person.
Forgiveness is not conditional and it’s not about agreeing with each other. There should not be a price to pay to be forgiven. Jesus already paid the price – stop trying to collect on a debt already paid! Even if the other person never repents or doesn’t agree with us, we must still forgive. Not once, twice, or ten times, but seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22). That means we should never find ourselves at the bottom of the barrel of forgiveness. When you think you have done it enough, do it one more time, God will show you how to advance from there.
When you are ready, actively choose to forgive the person who hurt you and reclaim your life. Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the person and situation have. As you let go, you will no longer define your life by how you’ve been hurt.
Timing is everything. Be quick to apologize; do so with sincerity and move on. Don’t wait for weeks to pass by. The longer you hold onto something the harder it is to get back into grace with someone. Once you have repented, know that you have freed yourself to move beyond the issue. It doesn’t matter if they don’t forgive, or want to forget; know that you have done your part.
Repenting, forgiving and advancing beyond hurt are often hard to do, but if God can throw our junk as far as the east is from the west without desiring to draw it back, why are we still holding the stuff from our hurt and pain?
For more sciptural support on repentance and forgiveness read these Psalms this week:
This Week’s Psalms- Psalm 32, Psalm 51, Psalm 103