Sometimes I am offended or hurt by the actions or words of others. If it's my kids, well, it's pretty easy to forgive them, to move on. If it's a close friend, the hurt seems deeper and harder to forgive or forget. If it's family, it can seem unforgivable. The way I want to respond is to get defensive. Throw something back at them. (Not literally, of course) It's so easy to shift the blame, or make someone else look worse, justify my actions. "I am not the one who started this. I would never do that to someone I cared about. I ...I... I... I don't feel that I'm in the wrong maybe, so I want to make myself look better than I really am and make them look worse than they really are.
When someone hurts us, sometimes, we say we'll forgive, but can't forget. I think that it is impossible to remove a memory from your mind, but I think that what forget really means is that our actions and words towards that person in no way reflect past hurts. Forgetting just means acting as though it never happened. It doesn't mean you can't remember. It's a choice, just like forgiveness is. Forgiveness is removing your hurt and their fault as far as the east is from the west. But, oh, it is so much easier to hold it over their head, right? "But I'm not at fault, I'm not the one who lied, cheated, I've done nothing wrong. They should pay." Jesus paid the ultimate price for us by willingly being slain for the sins of the whole world. He had done nothing wrong. He was sinless. We should have paid for our sins and been thrown into hell. That's what we deserve. But he showed love and forgiveness and suffered the shame of all our sin, removing it from us as far as the east is from the west.
So you're not at fault? So? Neither was He. In his book 'Just Like Jesus' Max Lucado says, "Only one was worthy of having his feet washed and he was the one who washed the feet. The one worthy of being served, served others. The genius of Jesus' example is that the burden of bridge-building falls on the strong one, not the weak one. The one who is innocent is the one who makes the gesture...More often than not, if the one in the right volunteers to wash the feet of the one in the wrong, both parties get on their knees. Don't we all think we are right? Hence we wash each other's feet...Relationships don't thrive because the guilty are punished but because the innocent are merciful." Well said. Foot washing was the job of the lowest servant in the house. And Jesus volunteered for the job. Our King, our Father, the Son of God washed the dirt off of our feet and the stains of sin from our hearts. To be just like Jesus, we need to step up and volunteer forgiveness and mercy and kindness, not just to those we love but also to those who hate us.