It is often more difficult to forget than to remember, but we must learn to forget. We do not mean literally to forget, but to cease to nurse a grudge, to put the thing behind us, never to be brought up again, no matter what happens in the future.
We need to forget our past failures. Don’t cry over spilled milk; get up and milk the cow again. When you have tried something and failed, learn a lesson from your failure and then move on.
Some people can never get over a slight by someone, or a wrong done them. The penitentiary is full of people who could not forget a real or imagined wrong, either by an individual or society as a whole. One of the first recorded statements of the Lord was: “But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” We had better remember that no unforgiving person can have fellowship with a forgiving God.
When Abraham Lincoln was President, he was bitterly criticized by Edward McMasters Stanton. He called Lincoln a “low cunning clown,” the “original gorilla.” Stanton was a democrat, but after the attack on Ft. Sumter, Lincoln appointed him Secretary of War, because he knew that Stanton was a loyal man and qualified for the job, and because Lincoln was more concerned for his country than for Stanton’s opinion of him. When Mr. Stanton looked into the rugged and homely face of Lincoln after he was killed he remarked in subdued tones of respect, “There lies the greatest leader this country has ever known.” Would it not be nice if Christians would put the interest of the Lord’s work and His church before their own petty little injuries? We could use a lot of real men and women who have the spirit of Lincoln with regard to this matter.
Paul had much animosity for John Mark, but later forgave him and worked with him in the gospel (Acts 15:39 f; 2 Tim 4:11). Paul contended with Peter face to face, but Peter later wrote in glowing terms of Paul’s writings according to the Spirit (2 Pet 3:15,16). Paul might have remembered the ill treatment he received at Philippi, but instead he said: “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now” (Phil. 1:3-4).