Roughly 300 years ago these famous words were penned by Alexander Pope, “To err is human, to forgive Divine.” But I don’t think we truly grasp the gravity of the truth behind these words. Forgiveness is probably one of the most complex processes that we as humans engage in and yet we speak about it all the time with such nonchalance. One of the phrases that ultimately troubles me the most is, “to forgive and forget”. It’s just not possible! We say things like, ‘It’s water under the bridge’, ‘I forgot that long ago’, etc., but if we were truly honest with ourselves… I am not even sure that forgetting is a quality of God. I think the beauty of grace is not that he forgets, but that he chooses not to count our sins against us. I think that speaks more to forgiveness than anything else.
The problem though lies with our memory and our inability to exercise grace for ourselves. Who are we to ultimately not forgive ourselves when God himself has not only forgiven but chooses not to hold these sins against us? Maybe we need more grace in our own lives extended from God through us, to us. Maybe we need to be willing to not only forgive ourselves but realize the past is the past, and although we learn from it, we are not burdened by it. Maybe this is why forgiveness is divine. Maybe it is only through the working of the Holy Spirit that we truly learn to forgive ourselves and live the life worthy of the forgiveness God has extended to us. May you find that forgiveness at work within you today.