...If one has a complaint against another,
forgiving each other;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
As we are learning from Paul's letter to the Romans, we have been forgiven richly because of Jesus' life, death and resurrection. Jesus has paid our debt with his life and death. Because the foundation of our relationship with the Living God is grace and forgiveness, one of the chief virtues that is to mark our lives with one another is forgiving one another.
Until we see Jesus face to face, we will still sin against one another. As followers of Jesus, we seek to love each other so well that we don't sin, but regrettably, we will still sin against one another.
Ken Sande says that when we forgive another from the heart, we are making four promises to the offender. Over the next few weeks, I will be talking about each of the promises that we make in forgiveness. The first promise we make is: "I will not dwell on this incident." Here is where we apply the gospel to our hearts and minds and intentionally choose to not dwell on the sin that was committed against us.
As an introvert, I spend a lot of time in my internal world, and it is very easy for me to drift into rehearsing offenses of either sinful words said or painful deeds done. Thankfully, often the Spirit convicts and reminds me that I have forgiven these sins against me. I confess my sin in rehearsing the offense, and pray for the person whose sin I was just dwelling on, and then, willfully chose to see the person in a positive light, and stop thinking about the sin that I forgave.
This is the internal work of forgiveness, and for some offenses, it is easy to do. But for others, it is difficult to do because the consequences of the offense are so big and lasting, or the offender is so close. But, this is also where God's work can be experienced. By learning to not dwell on another's sin, we are becoming like God, who does not remember our sins. God does not dwell on our sins against him.