Many times after we have hurt someone, and they have ‘forgiven’ us, it angers us and hurts us when they bring it back up. We quickly remind them that ‘you are supposed to forgive and forget’. We remind them of Isaiah 43:25, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” This is true, but must be understood in proper context. God forgives us and doesn’t hold our sins against us WHEN WE REPENT. But, what is repentance? Repentance is godly sorrow over what we’ve done (2 Corinthians 7:10). Repentance is a change of heart, and doing our best to never do that again. Repentance is making every effort to not put ourselves in the path of temptation for those sins. Repentance is an all out, sincere effort to turn around. But, Israel sometimes continued to rebel against God. Israel sometimes continued in the same sins…that’s not repentance. Israel sometimes put themselves in the path of temptation making it easier to fall.
You will notice that when Israel returned to their previous sins, that God STERNLY AND LOVINGLY BROUGHT UP THE PAST.
God was always first hurt, and then angry when Israel backslid. It’s not that they surprised Him. He already knew what they would do, when He forgave and restored them. How many times have you forgiven someone, but you fully suspected they weren’t yet strong enough to resist going back or hurting you the same way. When they did it again, you thought to yourself, “I knew it”, and it made your flesh even more angry because you expected it. You expected it because you could see them slipping back into old habits. When ISRAEL slipped back, GOD BROUGHT UP THE PAST, HE CALLED THEM OUT, HE REMINDED THEM in a stern and loving manner. In your free time read these scriptures, and these are not the only ones, where God BROUGHT UP THE PAST. I suggest you read the entire chapters for context…
· Judges 2:1-4
· Judges 6:7-10
· Judges 10:10-15
· 1 Samuel 10:17-19
· Ezekiel 16
· Ezekiel 20
· Psalm 81
Following God’s example, when someone repeatedly hurts you with the same sin expecting you to ‘get over it’, expecting you to not allow it to bother you, expecting not to have to have anything to say…remember that, in love, God called out ISRAEL when they fell back into rebellion against Him. He reminded them of everything that He had done for them. How He delivered them from the hand of the Egyptians, gave them a land inhabited by others, made their enemies subject to them. He reminded them of all He had done for them and pointed out what they did.
When someone blatantly hurts you, just like God, you have a right to remind them of your love for them, and bring up the past responsibly….in the spirit of love, STILL WILLING TO FORGIVE. This works both ways. You are willing to forgive no matter how many times they do it (Matthew 18:21,22), as Jesus commanded. And if they care about you, reminding them pricks their hearts, hopefully leading them to repent and have a sincere desire to not do it again. God said if we delight in Him He will give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). If it’s our desire to not do these hurtful things again…then we won’t. It works both ways towards forgiveness and repentance.
Read the scriptures I’ve listed above. Study this topic. See how God sounds like a hurt lover when His people chose evil over Him (Judges 2:2). Notice how He sternly, but lovingly reminds them His love, their sin and their promises. Then look at how He is willing to forgive again, and how they are led to repent. BRINGING UP THE PAST IN LOVE….it all works for both parties involved.
So, if you find yourself to hurt someone in the same way you did before, and they forgave you, have enough humility and respect to allow them to remind you of their love and your promise. And, if someone blatantly hurts you again after you’ve forgiven them, ONLY BRING IT BACK UP IN THE SPIRIT OF LOVE, fully ready to forgive again…and again…and again.
I would love to know your thoughts on this.