Thursday, July 15, 2010

Forgive and Forget

"Forgive and forget." How many times have we heard that? Or what about, "I can forgive you but I won't ever forget it." Forgive and forget may be the more godly of the two expressions but in reality the second one is what is practiced more often. Picture the bitter, offended person saying it. Or someone who has been deeply and unforgettably hurt. So how does, how can that person, any person who has been horribly wronged, forgive and forget? They cannot. I am not a scientist but I have been told that the human brain remembers everything. Somehow or another the brain stores up every event in a person's life, including all the pain, agony, grief, sorrow, and rejection. Recall is a different story. We lose our keys, forget birthdays and appointments, study for tests but don't score a 100. But those are usually minor things. Forgetting the deeper hurts is another story.

So how does one go on? How can a person deal with the unbearable heartache caused by another? Hebrews 8:12 says, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." Our Omniscient God has made a conscious choice to not remember our sins. But we are not God and trying to
not remember something traumatic and painful is a difficult, if not impossible human task. Why do we forget the minor things like the placement of car keys or the answer to a test question? Probably because we are not focused on those things. They do not get enough of our attention to be "on the front burner". Remembering and forgetting is all about our thought process. Do we constantly dwell on what that person did to us, how they crushed us, how thoughtless and uncaring they were? Or do we focus on good things? How has God blessed us? How is he working in our lives? What are the positive, pure and lovely things that we can meditate on? No, we may never truly forget the wrongs of another against us. But we can forgive. And it is mandatory to purposely focus on something else besides how hurt we are. Someone told me once, "I don't know how you can forgive me after what I've done to you." I told that person, "My other choice is to be bitter, hateful and miserable." I don't have room in my heart for those feelings. So I gave them all to God who has abundantly pardoned me and promised me beauty for ashes. How can I not forgive others?

"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you." Phillipians 4:7-9

"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Isaiah 55:7

"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;" Isaiah 61:1-3


  1. So true! The more you put into practice the turning of your thoughts, the easier it gets. It is a choice on whether or not to hang onto a hurt or to truly let it go (even if it's again and again and again).

  2. Good post, Karen--and for me, very timely.