Last post, I explained a new definition of forgiveness.  Forgiveness is where justice and grace meet.  One of the questions that led to that new definition was the phrase “forgive and forget.”  As I said last time, nowhere in the Bible will we find that phrase.  In fact, I believe that “forgive and forget” could actual do great harm.

 A few years ago, we were having a family over to our house on a regular basis.  And we began to notice that their child broke something just about every time they came over.  So, after their child broke something of sentimental value, my wife and I decided it was time to talk to them.

 In the course of our conversation, forgiveness was raised in the context of holding grudges.  Though my memory of the conversation is far from perfect, I remember discussing the very phrase, “forgive and forget.”  And I told them that though we forgive, we should not forget.  And I gave an illustration of a criminal. 

 If a criminal repents of his actions, are we to forgive them?  Of course the answer is yes.  But should we then forget what they have done? Absolutely not.  This does not mean we keep throwing their sin in their face—remember, we have forgiven them.   Instead, we are to work to make sure that they never again fall in that way.  If we truly forgave them, as Christ has forgiven us, then we will strive to make sure that boundaries are in place to keep them from breaking the law again.   To forget about their crime would actually be removing the barriers that they need to remain obedient.

 Consider the scars on Jesus hands.  He will bear those marks for all eternity and the scars on Jesus’ hands will prevent him from “forgetting” what He has forgiven.  It is precisely because of the scars that we have our eternal security.  The book of Hebrews even goes so far as to say that if ever those scars (and what those scars represent) were not sufficient, there would be nothing else to save us.   

 Hebrews 6:4-6, “For it is impossible,  . . . to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.”

 I believe we can deductively take a step farther and say that if Christ ever forgets the scars, we could have no eternal security.  Here is the reason.  Those scars are an eternal reminder that the price has been paid.  They are the guarantee of God’s justice and holiness.  Were He to forget the price that he paid, He might very well forget that justice has been done.  And if he forgets justice has been done, then He might require it again.  And if He required it again, there would be nothing left to save us!

 Let us not simply “forgive and forget,” but let us forgive –and not forget–and work to mature and preserve godliness in those we have forgiven.

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