"I want to forgive you; and I want to forget you."
If you are any kind of reality TV fan you know this line very well, and maybe have even used it a time or two. I myself may have used it once, but it was an extremely mature situation which rendered an extremely mature comment such as this, therefore giving me justification in using it... right?
I hate it when people apologize and ask forgiveness from me. I'm not exactly sure why but something inside me wants them to feel better about the situation and therefore my usual responds is "oh, it's ok; no big deal." On the flip side though if it's really not ok with me the phrase "It's fine!" usually pops out of my mouth with every bit of attitude I can muster as I cross my arms and glare in an attempt to make it as obvious as possible that it in fact is not fine and no, I do not want to get over it and move on. At which point the words "I want to forgive you; and I want to forget you" once rolled off my lips. Yes, at that moment I was officially dubbed the coolest girl in town (don't hate).
All too often this is the mentality of our society. We want to say that we forgive someone but then write them off like a bad check; or continue to hold it over their heads in an attempt to make ourselves feel better by making them feel worse. But no where in scripture do we find this obscure sense of reality ok. In fact, we find the opposite.
Jesus, after being beaten and broken to the point of unrecognition and hung naked on the cross, cried out to God "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." We, as Christians, are called to be Christ-like, therefore we should daily, hourly, even every minute of every day, ask ourselves; "What did Jesus do?" If Jesus loved, we are to love; if Jesus evangelized, we are to evangelize; if Jesus forgave, we too are to forgive "not seven times, but seventy-seven times."
He told me he was sorry; and through my tears of pain and frustration I remembered to ask myself "What did Jesus do?" I remembered that He first forgave me and He first forgot, not me, but my sin. Through my tears I spoke those three little words that have such power; "I forgive you." And I really meant it; for the first time I meant that I was forgiving and forgetting, not the way the world does, but the way Jesus did.