Jesus gave us relational commands to teach us how to love others the way that God first loved us. Jesus taught us how to love well: by doing good, blessing, praying for, foregoing retaliation, being merciful, not judging or condemning, and forgiving others, including our enemies.
We must remember that these are commands – they’re not optional. We don’t get to pick and choose which ones we follow and which ones we don’t. There is an interconnectedness in these commands that brings forth the law of reciprocity – we get back what we give - both the bad and the good.
I want to offer some final thoughts on forgiveness.
Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. There is a difference. While God is an eternal amnesiac, He doesn’t command us to be. God forgives and forgets. We should not.
We need to remember the harm that’s been done to us - for the good purpose of not putting ourselves in a position to let it happen again. In this way, our memory serves to protect us from further harm. Memory becomes a precious gift from God to us.
At the exit of the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem are the words, “Never forget.” We should never forget what happened to the Jews: six million lives senselessly slaughtered. Anti-Semitism is a holy offense to God.
Nor should we ever forget when evil has been done to us. Yes, give the pain to Jesus. Let Him heal it over time. He will. But don’t ever forget what happened to you.
The memory will help guard your heart so it won’t happen again.
But don’t ever forget.