Q.DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Why do some people have such long memories? Whenever we have a family gathering, one of my aunts keeps bringing up the same things that a cousin (now deceased) supposedly did to her many years ago. Why can’t she just forgive and forget? — N.L.
By BILLY GRAHAM
Tribune Media Services
A. DEAR N.L.: One of the Bible’s greatest promises is that when we truly repent of our sins and seek God’s forgiveness, God not only forgives our sins, but he even forgets them. The Bible says, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).
But if God both forgives and forgets the countless sins we’ve committed against him, shouldn’t we do the same toward those who have committed far fewer wrongs against us? Of course we should. Even if they refuse to admit they wronged us or won’t accept our forgiveness, we still should forgive them in our hearts — and then (with God’s help) cast it out of our minds. As I’ve often said, if we don’t do this, our anger and hurt will eat away at our minds and souls like a deadly poison. The key is to accept God’s forgiveness by giving our lives to Jesus Christ, and then extending that same forgiveness to others.
I don’t know why your aunt likes to dredge up these memories; perhaps she’s just looking for sympathy or attention. But whatever her reason, ask God to help you remind her — gently but clearly — that her cousin is no longer here, and it’s best not to be bound by the past.
In addition, ask God to help you examine your own heart and mind, to be sure you aren’t harboring an unforgiving spirit toward someone who might have hurt you. The Bible says, “Love … keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).
© 2012 Tribune Media Services 11/6