By Pastor Tim Dilena
This is a very good teaching on the principle of seeking and giving forgiveness. There are a couple of things I disagree with. For example the layout of the sermon. Pastor Dilena begins with a very profound and life altering and impactful example about the difficulty of forgiving. Throughout the bulk of his message he focuses on slight offenses (someone snubbing you in the street) and how it’s important to let those things go. He’s not wrong, but I think the volume of references slight in connection with the process of forgiveness undermines the impact of his opening example.
The other thing is that he insists that forgiveness means forgetting. It does not.
I believe a lot of people have issues forgiving because they know they won’t forget, or would have difficulty forgetting, a harm or violation. People don’t naturally want to be hypocrites. Some may think they are doing a service by NOT forgiving a conflict until they lose their memory. But truly, how common would that be?
I have never come across an instruction in the Bible to forget offenses, wrongs, harm or violations committed against you. All of life is an ongoing lesson. We can choose how we respond throughout the lesson, but what will have been learned if we can’t pass any test because we forgot everything that molded us in this life? The offenses, responses or reactions and possible resolutions are all part of our cycle of learning. They are all part of the things we bind or loosen here on earth that will follow us to heaven. (Matthew 16:18-19)
That being said, things will naturally fall from our memory. Offenses will loose their weight and sting. Time changes us. Life stages adjust us. Also forgiveness is a healing balm. It’s an act of love that works both ways. Those who ask for forgiveness are declaring they value the relationship they are seeking to repair. Those who offer forgiveness are not saying they are no longer hurt. They are willing to work through the hurt to resolve the conflict and move forward in the relationship.
GotQuestions.org explains it this way:
Isaiah 43:25 says, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”
[…]God’s “not remembering” is not what we usually think of as forgetfulness. God is omniscient. He knows everything, and He forgets nothing. However, He can choose not to remember something. In human relationships, we can choose to remember the offenses someone has committed against us, or we can choose to forget. To forgive someone, we must often put painful memories out of our minds. We don’t actually forget the sin, and it’s not that we are unable to recall the offense, but we choose to overlook it. Forgiveness prevents us from dwelling on past troubles.
That being said, enjoy the sermon. My scripture notes are below along with a few quotes.
Would you rather be right or reconciled?
- Being offended is a choice. You don’t have a choice about what others will do you, but you do have a choice to be offended.
- Hurt is porportional to intimacy. The closer you are to someone, the deeper the hurt.
- Any hurt not dealt with will turn to bitterness.
It is not enemies who taunt me— I could bear that; it is not adversaries who deal insolently with me— I could hide from them. But it is you, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend, with whom I kept pleasant company; we walked in the house of God with the throng. Let death come upon them; let them go down alive to Sheol; for evil is in their homes and in their hearts. ~ Ps 55:12-15
For your relationships, you have two options when you’re hurt:
- You can cover it, or
- You can confront it.
We base our forgiveness on what God has done for us not what the other person has done to us.
- He who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. ~ Matthew 5:7
Those with good sense are slow to anger, and it is their glory to overlook an offense. ~ Proverbs 19:11
Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. ~ 1 Peter 4:8
One who forgives an affront fosters friendship, but one who dwells on disputes will alienate a friend. A rebuke strikes deeper into a discerning person than a hundred blows into a fool. ~ Proverbs 17:9-10
Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. ~ Ephesians 4:31-32
Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”
Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. ~ John 3:4-5