2 ways to forgive and forget

Me:  I’ve been standing here a long time!

TSA agent:  What?!

Me:  I have been standing in here a really long time!

TSA agent:  Have you? How long? Like ten seconds?!?!

Oh, you did not! That’s what my prideful nature was saying. Oh, you did not just say that to me! But, God’s voice said, “Karlene, drop it.”

When the agent finally came over to where I stood – inside the glass tube, feet apart and hands raised over my head submissively – I said, “I didn’t know it was you.”

That was the truth. There were TSA agents everywhere, but none of them seemed to know their assignment. And I had no idea whose job it was to attend me {which, obviously, I needed some attending so I could make my connecting flight}.

Needless to say, he was not impressed with my semi-apology, nor did he give a flip-rip what I had to say. Have you noticed they never look you in the eye?

Can I forgive and forget, though?

To forgive and forget, we must lay aside some things. I needed to lay aside my offense brought on by the attitude of the TSA agent. And I quickly saw it would not be a 2-way street, this laying aside of some things.

Whether the target of a cranky TSA agent {whose job exists to protect us from potential danger} or victim of something far worse – God calls us to forgiveness.

Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive. Luke 17.4 NLT

It’s not always easy, is it? And even though I cannot possibly know what you’ve encountered – mistreatment, abuse, being taken advantage of, the lack of kindness and common decency – I do know it’s there.

2 ways to forgive and forget

#1 – Confess it with your mouth.

The first step to laying aside *some things* and inching towards forgiveness is the act of confession. It may sort of go like this.

I forgive _ _ _ _ _ for _ _ _ _ _.

While this looks really simple in print, it is usually anything but. And I realize this sounds a little mixed up, especially if the offense was done *to you*. {But, look back at Luke 17.4. That’s Jesus talking.}

Or, your confession may need to go like this.

God, please forgive ME for _ _ _ _ _.

Again, not always easy. I don’t know about you, but this is nearly always an issue of pride for me. I do not like to admit the error of my ways. I like to control things – and the outcome of things.

{Nor do I like being left standing in the TSA tube unattended. And trust me, it was longer than ten seconds.}

Alas, confession is good for the soul. That, and a listening ear to hear God’s voice saying, “Drop it, now!”

#2 – Give it to God.

The only way to effectively let go – to forgive and forget – is to turn the situation over to God. In other words, you must learn to *drop it*.

Anyone out there guilty of holding a grudge?

Me neither. Oh…same here. See, God is working on me. I feel like the past couple of years of my life were full of moments with Him saying, “Drop it, now!”

He’s teaching me that there is freedom in letting Him take it. You can find this freedom, too. It is God’s way; the only way to forgive and forget.

  • Hand over to our heavenly Father the mistreatment and abuse.
  • Release to Him those memories of being taken advantage of.
  • Lay upon your loving God the lack of kindness and common decency shown to you by others.

In the end, the TSA agent softened his attitude ever-so-slightly, though he never looked me directly in the eyes.

After my body search, he led me over to one of those *private* metal desks {which are anything but *private*, you know}. He retrieved my carry-on items and diligently went through them. He demanded allowed me to observe the process while standing on the other side of the metal desk.

When, in his best effort at a stern voice, he said, “Thank you, Ma’am,” I wanted to say, “I appreciate what you do and would not want your job.” But he wouldn’t look me in the eyes.

So, I gave it to God, instead.

About the author : Karlene Arthur

Karlene Arthur

Karlene has worked in the Christian nonprofit arena her entire adult life. She has a master of ministry from Southwestern Christian University and served the local church as worship leader, administrative pastor, and small groups director. Karlene currently serves with Visionaries International, a nonprofit missions organization founded by her father over forty years ago. She writes at whileiponder.com, sharing stories of life, faith, and family. Her mission: encouraging others to build up their faith.

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