“F U!”

Wait! Before you click the backbutton on your browser, I was not really cussing. A friend posted a video on Facebook where I saw a pastor pound on his pulpit and shout at the top of his voice, “As a Christian, you’ve got to forgive. Now that said, and please don’t get offended, the new “f” word in this church is ‘forgive.’ Now, touch the person beside you and tell her, ‘F U!’” In this world where it’s easier to curse than confess, to refuse to give forgiveness than to release the person from guilt, that’s a timely word. I may not be as bold (read: daring) as that pastor in exhorting the church to tell and text people, “F U, y’all!” But I encourage all of us to forgive.

The Bible commands us to forgive exactly the way God forgave.“Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32, The Message) We forgive because we are forgiven first. Psalm 103:11-12 declared that, “As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love to those who fear him. And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins.” From the east to the west! That’s how far God lovingly removed our faults from us. Plus, in Micah 7:19 we read, “You’ll stamp out our wrongdoing. You’ll sink our sins to the bottom of the ocean.” I remember in one of the bible studies I attended when I was in college (yes, back when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth) our leader preached on this very passage. He said, “God would cast our sins to the very depths of the sea and He would float a buoy on the surface with this sign: ‘No Fishing!’” How true!

Also, the way we forgive is the way the Lord would forgive us. In the prayer that He taught His disciples, we are to pray to the Father, “forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” (Matthew 6:12, NLT) The measure of forgiveness we give to others is the measure of forgiveness we receive from God.

But some of us may be thinking, “But how can I forgive when I find it hard to forget.” Well, forgive and forget is simply not Biblical. What the Lord promised was not forgive and forget. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”(Hebrews 8:12) When God forgave us, He was not struck with memory loss. Unlike us who tend to become historical as well as hysterical, He just chose not to bring up the issue anymore even when we sin again. That’s the same manner we ought to forgive those who sinned against us.

Brethren, let us forgive one another.

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