Can we forgive and forget? Forgiving a person is one thing, but what about forgetting? Can we reach a point of forgiving and forgetting? In life, we meet people who hurt us to the core, whether in words or in actions. When a person is hurt deeply, they tend to struggle with forgiveness. Forgiveness seems to be very difficult. A person may hurt us and then walk away without ever apologizing, there are those who hurt us and then blame us, there are those who hurt us then tell us we should have known better not to fall into their traps. There are those who hurt us and then go on and spread lies, those who hurt us and then turn everything towards us and against us. With time we realize many people actually do not own up to their mistakes.
We live in a fallen world. People want to maintain a perfect external image, usually, at the expense of others.
When we are hurt, we go through cycles during the healing process. At times we do not want to forgive let alone forgetting, at times we want those who hurt us to pay for what they did or said, at times we want them to apologize. Yet, the truth is, forgiveness is a choice. Those who hurt us do not have to apologize for us to forgive them. Forgiveness is a choice. We forgive even when the other person has not apologized. We own up to our mistakes and the part we played in the process. We own up for allowing people into our lives who had no good intentions towards us. We own up for when we reacted in ways that do not please God. We own up and repent. We ask God to forgive us and forgive those who have hurt us.
In the Bible, we are told to pray for God to forgive our trespasses just as we have forgiven those who trespass against us. Forgiveness is required from us. We have been forgiven much and likewise, we are to forgive those who hurt or offend us. Forgiveness frees us from bondage, it sets us free. We do not have to live in offense, we should never allow people’s sins against us to turn into sin within us. When we hold on to unforgiveness, bitterness, rage, and hatred, we are in sin. Unforgiveness in itself is sin.
The Bible says if we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us. We have to choose to forgive. We have to choose to release those who have hurt us to God.
What happens when we have reached a point of forgiveness but we cannot forget how much they hurt us? What if we cannot forget their hurtful words, hurtful actions, the way in which they mistreated, abused, and misused us? What if we cannot forget how much they gossiped and slandered us? What if we cannot forget how they turned other people against us? What if we forgave but cannot forget. Forgiveness is difficult in itself, but what about forgetting? What if the hurts keep coming back to mind?
We are to pray to God to help us forget. We invite God into the situation we are in. We tell Him our struggles. We feed our minds with the Word of God, and with time, we acquire a new way of thinking. We take our thoughts captive and put them into subjection to Christ. God will help us to see other people as He sees them. We come to realize hurt people hurt others. Other people are going through their own struggles, and some of them end up projecting their pain and hurt onto other people. The society we live in influences our thinking. There are those who put people into clusters and think all the people are the same, and as such, they project their wrong way of thinking, actions, and words onto others.
In the storms, God is there.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19.
Seasons of hurt seem like we are in the wilderness. During times when we go through pain, we can either become better or become bitter. We should never forget that unforgiveness and bitterness hold us in chains. If we embrace the lessons we learn during such times though, we come out victorious. God never takes us through anything that would destroy us; His grace is always sufficient.
We should never allow our lives to be lost in bitterness. We are to forgive and forget. We do not go reminding those who hurt us how much they wronged us, we do not go revisiting past mistakes and hurts in our minds. It is difficult but with God’s help, we can do it. We do not worry about avenging, only God settles the score.
Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Psalm 37:1-6.
We live by faith and not by sight. We know God is the One who rewards us. Our duty is to do good and trust in the Lord. He takes over from there. When we die to self and live guided by the Holy Spirit, we do indeed forgive and forget with God’s help. It is the carnal nature that wants to avenge, that wants to keep going through hurts and mistakes made. But those led by the Spirit are no longer under control by the flesh. We die with Christ and rise with Christ. Now, it is not us who live but it is Christ who lives in us by faith.
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