Forgiving What You Can’t Forget

Forgiving What You Can’t Forget (Thomas Nelson, 2020)

Lysa TerKeurst titles her most recent book Forgiving What You Can’t Forget: Discover How to Move On, Make Peace with Painful Memories, and Create a Life That’s Beautiful Again.  In addition to her writing, Lysa serves as president of Proverbs 31 Ministries.  In the first sentence of Lysa’s introduction, she poses this question: Do you ever find yourself defining life by before and after the deep hurt?  If so, this results in a sharply drawn line across your reality.  Hence, that marked moment in time splits open your memory bank and defiles it.  Furthermore, you feel as fragile as the tiniest twig.  But stuck in this place as a hundred-year-old tree stump.  Yet, Lysa  encourages, it’s possible for life to exist as a graceful combination of beautiful and peaceful.  And maybe this less severe version of yourself eases you to a place of forgiveness.

However, Lysa warns, the soldiers of unforgiveness wage war against every hurting person.  As a result, we need God’s grace and truth to truly heal.  Because forgiveness is God’s divine mercy for human hearts prone to turn hurt into hate.  Therefore, own the feelings resulting from your pain as yours to control.  The process of healing begins with hope-filled possibilities, not hopeless pursuit.  Also, making the choice to look for hope creates a multiplying effect.  For as you look for hope, you’ll see it more and more.  Above all, place your healing in the Lord’s hands, while you focus on stepping toward Him in obedience.  All you need bring is the willingness to forgive, not the fullness of all restored feelings.

Most significantly, what we fear most winds up paving a road to freedom.  God can bring good from any sacrifice placed in His hand.  God’s redemption covers it all.  Get to the place where pain serves as the gateway to growth and discovery.  Look to collect life lessons, not grudges.  Choose to believe God’s most merciful outcome = the one you’re living.  Although you view forgiveness as a hard step to take, it’s the only step leading to something good.  Hence, Lysa advises, start with compassion for the pain your offender’s experienced.  Because truly forgiving what you can’t forget fails to happen with someone you’re trying to control.  In contrast, forgiveness enables you to stay in step with God’s heartbeat.  With Jesus, in faith we live in answered prayer and perfect provision.  It’s not necessary to understand God to trust Him.

Finally, Lysa underscores, God demonstrates His faithfulness as your prayers align with His will and faithfulness.  Humanity, along with humility, makes true forgiveness possible.  Consequently, bow low.  Not because you want to, but because you need to.  Living in the comfort of peace is far better than chaining yourself to the constraints of unforgiveness.  And the best time to forgive? Before any offense occurs!  Lysa concludes:

“Jesus didn’t just model forgiveness when He taught us to pray.  It was the message of His life.  And it was the declaration of His death. . . .  But even more, it is the proclamation of every saved soul: ‘I am forgiven.  Therefore, I must forgive.’ “

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Dave Henning

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