Hold on to Forgiveness Instead of Failure

Reading Level: Leisurely

Many of us are prone to hold on to our failures; as a result of our own tendency to do so, we inadvertently think that God also holds on to our failures and treats us accordingly.

There is no doubt that, at times, we suffer in our current circumstances due to a prior failure. For example, years ago when we were just out of college, my spouse didn’t change the oil in the car for a couple of years! The result was a locked up engine. The failure in maintenance resulted in car trouble that we had to deal with. The trouble was a result of our own failure, not brought about by any outside force. Sometimes, when we are going through a circumstance that is a result of our failure, we begin to believe that God is causing the circumstance as a type of punishment for the wrong step. This idea weighs down one’s spirit with destructive feelings of guilt. This misconceived guilt makes it more difficult to overcome the trying circumstance because we—erroneously—wonder how long God wants us to be punished by it.

When we have a clear understanding of God’s description of His forgiveness for us, it helps us to move past our failures to healing.

I read a humorous story by Kenneth Hagin in his “Health Food” book, March 18th post. When his son was a young child, he misbehaved at times in church. Kenneth would tell his son that if the wrong behavior continued, he would have to be punished when they got home. Kenneth admits that he often forgot about the misbehavior by the time they got home, so his son did not get punished. In Isaiah 43:25, God describes what takes place when we realize a failure and sincerely come to Him for forgiveness, “I am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Or, for a simpler translation (BBE), “I am He who takes away your sins; and I will no longer keep your evil doings in mind.” Hagin made a delightful comparison from God’s description of His forgiveness to the situation with his son. He says, “For me to punish my son, I would have had to remembered…For God to punish you, He would have to remember your sins, but He doesn’t remember them.”

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God chooses to forgive and forget our failures; for healthy relationships, we must do the same.

Just as in any healthy relationship, if the other person realizes an offense and sincerely apologizes, we forgive and go on without harboring bitterness or repeatedly bringing up the offense in conversation (We won’t deal here with the personality type that asks forgiveness with no desire to ever change the harmful actions as that is covered in other posts.). Since God desires to exist in a healthy relationship with us, when we ask forgiveness, He truly does forgive and forget. Realizing this fact, we must not allow our imaginations to think that God is continuing to punish us via our circumstances; neither should we continue to carry the burden of guilt.

Since God forgives and forgets our failures so that we can exist in a healthy, healing relationship with Him, we should evaluate our level of forgiveness with the loved ones in our lives. How do we respond when they ask forgiveness for failures? Do we attempt to set up circumstances to punish them? Do we create destructive guilt by repeating the failure in various conversations? One of God’s guidelines for effective living is to “Love each other as I have loved you (Jn. 15:12).” Just as we desire to live in a state of emotional healing and health by God freely forgiving and forgetting our failures, let’s provide the same emotional healing and health to those dearest to us by extending God’s type of love and forgiveness to them.

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