What NOT to Write in Your Bible

In my last post I described how I often record promises, prayers, and significant life events in the margins of my Bible. Like a modern-day equivalent to the Israelites’ “stones of remembrance,” my notes remind me of God’s faithfulness and mercy throughout my lifetime. 

Today, however, during my Bible reading time, I encountered a different type of note – a note I wish I hadn’t written. 

This note, instead of filling my heart with gratitude and strengthening my faith, did the opposite. It transported me back to a time when someone had wounded me so deeply I feared I might never recover. It opened the door to painful memories and picked at the scab on the wound I thought God had healed long ago. 

I don’t know why, on that sad day, I chose to record the offense. Perhaps it was because I knew it was a life-altering one, a line in the sand akin to the one between B.C. and A.D., that testified that life, as I knew it, was forever changed. 

Whatever the reason, my note reminds me, every year, of the hurt and pain I felt that day. 

But today I said, No more. 

No longer do I want to be reminded, year after year, of an offense that broke my heart. No longer do I want to relive the hurt, betrayal, and pain of that day. I want to banish from my memory forever the doubt and fear that wrapped itself like a cloak around me, threatening to suffocate my faith and my future. 

In an act of obedience and submission, I picked up the blackest of black pens and expunged forever the record of that wrong. I inked over my handwriting so thoroughly that the words are now indistinguishable. One day, I pray, I will forget them for good. 

I must confess, part of me wanted to leave the memorial of my hurt recorded forever in my Bible. In a sad and sadistic way, reliving the sins others have committed against me keeps my righteous indignation alive and affirms my innocent-victim status. 

But the Holy Spirit whispered into my heart that there was another choice. Another way of handling the pain. 


And when you have forgiven, he said, forget. 

“But, Lord,” I objected, “don’t you remember how they broke my trust? Lied to cover up their sin? Don’t you know what this has cost me?” 

I know, the Lord said. Because your sin broke my heart. Your transgression made me cry. Your willful disobedience altered the course of my life forever. 

See my hands? And my side? I was wounded for your transgressions. I was bruised for your iniquities. The punishment for your peace is upon me. 

Yet by my stripes, you were healed. 

Then he reminded me of Psalm 103:12: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” 

And Jeremiah 31:34: "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” 

I knew I had no self-righteous higher ground to stand upon. If the holy Son of God could forgive me for the sins that nailed him to the cross, and was willing to expunge the record of my transgressions, who was I to withhold my forgiveness from another? 

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you,” he said in Matthew 6:14-15, “your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” 

As I have received mercy, so must I give it. As I desire forgiveness, so must I extend it. 

So I picked up my pen again. Now, instead of a note that reminds me how someone sinned against me, I’ve written five new words, 

Today I choose to forgive. 

 Now it’s your turn. Are you struggling to forgive? I encourage you, don’t wait for the feelings. Obey God and trust that the feelings will come.

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