The above picture shows footprints in the sand on a shoreline. Forgiveness is like what the tide does when it rolls in and washes the footprints away...The footprints are marks left in the sand, much like the hurts impressed upon our lives by others.
Have you ever built a sandcastle, only to have it stomped down by someone? I have.
Sometimes, instead of just footprints in our peaceful sand, there comes a solid stomp from the foot of one who seeks to destroy what we have so diligently built in our sand.
We are first shocked, then saddened...How could they? we might ask as we sit amongst the ruins. Then we become angry and may even seek vengence...You just wait until YOU build a sandcastle, I will stomp on it with BOTH feet... Ha...ha! ( I have an older brother can't you tell?)
The problem in the first place, is that I should not expect something that I built in the sand to last for more than a minute anyway; and I should never treasure whatever was built in sand.
“Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:26)
Our lives are touched by the wind, the rains, the storms of life. With the passage of time comes change. These are all to be expected.
We have weathered the changes of the seasons, and have learned to adapt to the effects of the elements upon our lives; But footprints are an intrusion into the sand; they can have a devastating impact upon it.
Unlike the steady force of the wind shifting the sand from side to side, or the constant pattering from rain, drenching the sand and pulling it away, and spreading it thinner...a footprint is sudden, unexpected, and forceful; it can run deep and wide, crushing the sand beneath it's brutal weight, and kicking it aside, leaving behind the evidence of it's trespass!
What we need to remember, is that just as footprints in sand are temporary, so can be the effects from hurt inflicted upon us by others.
...And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us...( from The Lord's Prayer)
We must make a choice to either become angry and stay that way even after the footprints have long faded, or we can be angry for a short season, and then allow the tide of forgiveness to forever wash away the footprints from our hearts and minds.
"If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matthew 5:7, 39-46)
The tides of forgiveness will wash them away, and we will be restored to a peaceful shore once again.
He will again have compassion on us;
he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
He will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19)
I am still learning how to forgive, and forget. I have learned that I can not do it by my own power, just as I can not save my own soul. I know now that Jesus has already taken all the punishment, not only for my sins, but for those who hurt me with their sins as well. And I must never forget what He said from the cross:
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)
Therefore, if our Lord forgave those who crucified Him (while He still suffered), when they did not even acknowledge any wrongdoing, and had not asked Him for forgiveness for it... then who am I to withold forgiveness for wrongs that were done to or against me!
I believe we must learn from our life experiences, both good and bad, but we must move on, beyond the past, into whatever the Lord has for us...This is a foundation laid for us by Jesus Himself. He overcame death, and took our sins away, so that when the storms came, we would not fall. Even death can not harm our soul! Anything that we build on anything else but that foundation, will crumble and fall.
He remains steadfast and holds us in place when we have built our faith upon the Rock. We will not lose hope, when we place our future in His hands.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
There is freedom, peace, and comfort there.