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In the Word we see how Paul had to forget his past in order to walk on with God and to stand in the full potential of the office and ministry God called him to. It's not different with us.

However, closely associated with learning to forget is learning to forgive. This forgiveness is twofold: Not only must you learn to forgive others; you also must learn to forgive yourself.

Notice what Jesus said about forgiveness in Matthew 18:21-22: "Then came Peter to him (Jesus), and said, 'Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?'" [Peter seemed to want to answer his own question.]

That's a good question, isn't it? Is that pertinent today, or did it just apply to people living back then? This is what Jesus said: "I say not unto thee, Until seventy times seven." [That's 490 times!]

You see, we hear a lot preached about forgiveness and we talk a lot about forgiveness, but somehow we don't practice it the way the Bible said to. When you begin to study the subject in detail, it almost shocks you. Let's take a look at Luke 17:3-5:
Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent: thou shalt forgive him. And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.
Forgiveness Takes Faith
This is still part of the faith message. It takes faith to forgive! In fact, your faith won't work unless you do forgive.

Remember, in Mark 11:24, after Jesus had spoken about "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them," with the same breath, in the same setting, He immediately began talking about forgiveness in connection with prayer: "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses" (v.25). (He's talking about prayer in the 24th verse and forgiveness in the 25th.)

Now let's return to the eighteenth chapter of Matthew, where we saw Peter asking, "Lord how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?" (v. 21). "Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven" (v. 22).

Whether you realize it or not, to forgive and to forget go hand in hand. And these are the things that hinder us from receiving from God, from growing spiritually, and from being who and what God wants us to be.

To Forgive Means to Forget
In June 1939, Oretha and I were moving our meager belongings into a little three-room parsonage of a church I'd just been called to pastor when one of the church members stopped by.

She talked a little about the weather and different things, but finally she blurted out what she had really come for. She said, "Now, Bother Hagin, I know you're going to hear about it, and I wanted to tell you first so you could get it first hand." (Usually you'd better watch people like that!)

She said, "I wanted to tell you how old Sister so-and-so treated me." And she went on to tell me all about it.

Finally I interrupted and asked, "When did this happen?" (I thought that during the 10 days between pastors they had gotten into a fuss and their love had waxed "cold" one for another.)

She said, "Let's see…1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8…" I thought she was going to say eight days ago. Instead, she said, "Thursday, I believe it will be eight years ago it happened."

I guess my mouth fell open and my eyes got big, I was so surprised.

The woman said, "Oh, now, don't you misunderstand. I've forgiven her, all right, but you know I never will forget how that old devil treated me!"

Without thinking, I pointed my finger right in her face and said, "Sister, you're a liar. You're just a liar. If you'd have forgiven her, you'd have forgotten it. Now, the devil might bring you a picture of it, but if you've forgotten it, you wouldn't be here talking about it."

Several months later, another member of the church came to the parsonage for a visit. After talking about other things, she finally said, "Brother Hagin, I've got a question for you."

"Well fine," I said. "I'll answer it if I can."

She asked why members of her husband's family never failed to be healed while members of her family, who seemingly were more spiritual, never had received healing in almost a quarter of a century.

I answered her, "Without knowing you husband's family, I would say, based on knowing the Bible, that they must have these characteristics: They are quick to repent, quick to forgive, and quick to believe."

When I said that, her mouth fell open and she batted her eyes like a frog in a West Texas hailstorm. She said, "Why, that's exactly right! You've hit the nail right on the head!"

"No," I replied, "I didn't hit the nail on the head; God did. I got that from the Bible."

She said, "I believe my husband's family are the quickest people to repent, forgive, and believe that I've ever seen. In fact, some of them would stay out of church a long time, but when they did come to the altar, they'd repent the fastest, believe the quickest, and get blessed the most of anybody I've ever seen."

(Friends, there's something about believing God, like Smith Wigglesworth said, that will cause God to pass over a million people to get to you.)

Then the woman started telling me about her family. She said, "I believe we're the slowest people you've ever seen when it comes to forgiving. We will forgive eventually, but the only reason we do is because we know we have to, not because we want to. And I believe we're the slowest people you've ever seen when it comes to believing."

We have preached a lot about forgiveness, but many don't practice what they are taught. We not only need to forgive one another, but then forget as well - put it out of mind - once and for all.

It takes faith to do that. It takes faith to forgive, and that's what we need to do.

Source: Learning to Forget by Kenneth E. Hagin.
Excerpt permission granted by Faith Library Publications

Author Biography

Kenneth E. Hagin
Web site: RHEMA
Rev. Hagin served in Christian ministry for nearly 70 years and was known as the "father of the modern faith movement." His teachings and books are filled with vivid stories that show God's power and truth working in his life and the lives of others.

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