In my post “Do We Complicate Christianity” I touched on forgive and forget writing:
Jesus taught us how to love and to forgive and forget. Yet so many Christian’s have a problem over the forgetting part. They have no concern over the forgiving, but insist on keeping the burden and stress of the problem with them; they just can’t forget. As Christian’s we should, like God, wipe the slate clean, purge our minds of the problem and continue living a loving life.
Why is this so important to God and for us? Today I will give you the reasons I learned from my Grandfather and hopefully help you understand the importance.
The phrase “forgive and forget” is not found in the Bible. However, there are numerous scriptures commanding us to “forgive one another” (Matthew 6:14; Ephesians 4:32). A Christian who does not forgive can reap bitterness and the loss of eternal rewards (Hebrews 12:14-15; 2 John 1:8). Forgiveness is a decision of the will. Since God commands us to forgive, we must make a conscious choice to forgive. This frees us from the past. The offender may not desire forgiveness and may not change (Matthew 5:44). Ideally, the offender will seek reconciliation, but if not, we should still make known our decision to forgive.
In one sense, it is impossible to truly forget sins that have been committed against us. We cannot selectively “delete” events from our memory. The Bible states that God does not “remember” our wickedness (Hebrews 8:12). God is all-knowing. God knows that we have “sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). However, having forgiven us, He treats us as if the sin had not occurred. If we belong to Him through faith in Christ, God does not hold our sins against us. In that sense we must “forgive and forget.” If we forgive someone, we must act as if that sin had never occurred. We remember the sin, but we live as if we did not remember it. Ephesians 4:32 tells us, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
I am not saying it will be easy, but, if when you forgive and ‘wipe’ the sin into the past, time will heal your wounds and the memory of it will fade away. Grandfather probably said it best “When you carry all those hurts with you, you are adding a great burden on your shoulders. Not only are you keeping the hurt alive in your mind to dig at you every time you think of it, you are also giving the offending person the glory over and over for hurting you. That means every time you remember it, the person who worked so hard to hurt you, just hurt you again.”
To me this is a win-win situation, you forgive to release the hurt and forget to get it completely behind you. This is the love Jesus talks about when he said to love your neighbor as I have loved you.
Where do you stand on forgive and forget? Can you put it behind you? Your happiness just may depend on your answer.