S171P5 – The proverbial good friend: short-term memory

Pro. 17:9

He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends.

The picture of forgiveness that we get from God’s example is one of a total reset.  When we think about how He separates us from our sin through repentance, and to what degree that occurs, the metaphor is clear. [Psa. 103:12]  One cannot walk east and west at the same time; one cannot look east and west at the same time.  The chasm God puts between us and our forgiven sin is just like the chasm which once stood between us and him.  They are gone from us and not remembered by him again. [Heb. 8:12]  This seems like quite a high standard, but it is the true definition of forgiveness.  If we are to forgive one another as real friends, we must follow this model.

We already know that discernment in friendship is key [Pro. 12:26], and this is just another reason why that is the case. For anyone who has been released of their burden by forgiveness, it is certainly unpleasant to be reminded of it. Whether the one who discharged your offense reminds you or others of what transpired, the same is true. In fact, it indicates that forgiveness has not appeared yet. The love that should exist and also be pursued continually in friendship should be sufficient to cover that offense. This kind of love should move us to desire to forgive those in relationship with us, and its presence is one of our indicators of a genuine friendship.

A rather well-known celebrity recently was asked a question about a past event in her personal life, and she responded by saying that it never happened. Her answer was comical, but it indicated that she had gotten over that event. For her, it really was as if it never happened. That is the kind of short-term memory we are to have when we forgive our friends. If we have released them from their transgressions, it is as if they never transgressed. We forget the offense like God does because we have decided to set it aside for their good and ours. Father, teach us where we continue to hold on to offenses by our friends, and help us to release them by true forgiveness.