If you truly forgive, shouldn’t you forget?
Don’t you love it when people quote adages like they’re Scripture? “Forgive and forget” has done so much damage to people’s understanding of God and their relationship with others.
Do you realize God does not forget the sins He forgives us of? How could He and still be an all-knowing God? Instead He chooses to not remember and hold them against us.
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
(Jeremiah 31:34 NIV)
Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:17 NIV)
This is more than just an exercise in semantics. We also can’t easily forget. God has created us with minds to remember. Thoughts will pop back into our minds and we have no power over the past…but we do have control over how we let our past control our present and our future.
When memories come, of hurts and pains you have chosen to forgive, don’t try to ignore them. Remember the whole event – including the FACT you have chosen to forgive them with the strength God provides.
Dr. Chuck Lynch in his book “I Should Forgive, But…” gives this advice regarding the obsessive thinking that often surrounds forgiven hurts:
1. Address God – Stating God’s name in a firm way forcibly stops the obsessive thinking, but usually only momentarily. It is the starting point at dealing with dangerous thoughts.
2. Thank God – Express appreciation to God for allowing you to remember the past offense you had to forgive. This allows you to review this biblical tool which Christ illustrated at the time of His own hurt and rejection “Father, forgive them…” It will also bring to mind that you have left them with God. You can thank Him that you were able to give the same gift of forgiveness you received and thus reflect God’s character to others.
3. Praise God – Sincerely praise God for the tool of forgiveness. Praise Him for forgiving you as you forgive others and for what He’s going to do through this experience for His glory.
Over time, we can forget many of the worse things done to us. But we don’t get to that place by trying to forget.
The secret is to remember the whole truth, including the fact you’ve chosen to forgive. This is how you release yourself from the lie of the enemy that says you need to forget if you truly forgive.
Choose to remember the whole truth every time the painful emotions around an offense try to control your thinking.
I enjoy getting your thoughts and comments on this.