Does it ever surprise you that out of nowhere you suddenly remember an incident that happened years ago that makes you feel uncomfortable? Perhaps someone did something that hurt you or made you angry. You thought you put the whole thing behind you, but there it is again popping up in your memory, and it still bothers you.
I believe that when that happens, the Holy Spirit is prompting us to forgive someone because we didn’t do it before. We hold on to resentment, anger, bitterness over something that happened so long ago we forgot about it, but the emotions are still impressed deep within our spirits. God wants to clean us up, to heal us of past wounds.
I have learned that whenever I suddenly remember a past event like that to pause and think – did I ever forgive that person? No I did not and that’s why the memory and feelings still persist. So now I forgive without question. There’s no reason to hold onto bad feelings, ever. I think that the more we clean out those bad feelings, but easier it is to hear God.
And that’s not the only reason to forgive. “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matt 6:15) That’s a startling reason to forgive. Jesus told the story of the unmerciful servant (Matt 18:23-35) as a clear teaching on what He expects of us. His blood covers our sin. His blood, tortured from his body. He did that willingly because He loves us so much. If we can’t forgive people after what He did for us, He has every right to not forgive our sins, and we know that the wages of sin leads to death.
Just forgive. It’s not that hard. You just acknowledge you haven’t forgiven that person and do it. Then ask God to forgive you for not doing it sooner. Then be aware of those awkward memories. Ask yourself, do I need to forgive them? Is that why the Holy Spirit is reminding me? Just do it.