“Forgive and Forget.”
How many times have we heard this advice from our friends, teachers, families, and even strangers? How many works of art, articles on thoughtcatalog and other teen-catered-blogs, random typographies we stumble upon on the internet have we seen these words scribbled? How many times have we pondered on this thought and forced our selves to do one after the other, a co-requisite for one to do the other. One must have probably lost count.
But do we really have to forgive and forget?
Scripture check: The phrase “Forgive and forget” is not found in our Bible, no matter how much you contort the context of every forgiveness verses you know, it’s simply not there.
Then what now?
We forgive. But we do not forget.
Forgiveness is something so easily said but is the last thing your mind will follow today. How can you forgive someone who has taken the happiness out of your smiles? How can you forgive someone who has inflicted so much pain on you, your knees shiver, your teeth grit just hearing the first mutters of his/her name? And the most common scene we have today: How can we forgive someone who’s not even sorry?
Heart reminder. God has forgiven us of ALL our sins. Who are we to hold back forgiveness from anyone?
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” – Colossians 3:13
Forgiveness is not about fairness. Nothing is fair in this world, at least in our human perspective. It is only God who decides what’s fair and what is not. It is His justice. But in the end, forgiveness is not about fairness. It’s not about getting what we deserve and what the other person deserves. It is about love and obedience. We forgive because it is the right thing to do.
What do we do then?
We do not try to get even. Instead, we bring our hurts to God. We heal it with His grace. We let go of our grudges and other hidden hates to free our hearts from the shackles that have bound us from the other person’s sin.
Forgive. In all ways. Always.
But we don’t have to forget.
Forgetting a sin done unto us is letting evil rule by condoning the wrongdoing.
And we simply can’t do it! We are merely humans, we can’t selectively condition our minds to delete specific memories to our own liking. It is not what God wants us to do. We can not always forget but we can always forgive. Forgiving is a conscious act of the will. God has commanded us to forgive our neighbors, not just once, twice, 10 times, but 77 times. But God did not command us to let someone or something continue to hurt us.
Forgiveness is not minimizing the gravity of the offense done unto us. It is not saying “No, it’s okay, it’s no big deal” when as the matter of fact it is. We got hurt, we got pained, we got broken. And because of God’s love for us, It is a big deal for the Lord. Forgiveness is removing the knife out of your own back and not using it to hurt other people and your self any longer. The stinging wound will soon disappear, but the scar will undoubtedly get left marked on our skin.
How then can we find strength to forgive?
Remember how much God has forgiven us. When we remember this truth, it gives us ineffable grace and strength to show this grace unto other people by granting them forgiveness. Resentment is self-torture. When left locked inside our hearts, it’s going to eat us up inside out. As a matter of fact, we forgive not to give the other person peace, but rather, to free our self and give our selves our own peace. How amazing is that?
We heal out hearts by forgiving and letting God’s grace work.
Today, let our hearts start the healing process by forgiving and letting go. Weeks, months, or even years after, you’ll find your self looking back at what happened and realizing you’ve given your heart peace by choosing to do the hard yet the right thing God wants us to do.