How to Forgive AND Forget

Most people have heard before someone say they will ‘forgive but never forget.’

You may even had said it yourself. I know I’m guilty of it.

When someone has hurt us it’s our common reaction to an offense.

Matter of fact, it’s so common it’s considered normal.

Now you might be thinking forgiving is hard enough so forgetting is impossible.

But is it?

Can we actually learn to forgive and forget?

And if so how do someone learn to forget?

In order for us to answer these questions there’s two things we must consider.

First we must understand our attitude toward forgiving.

Everyone has a different attitude as far as forgiving is concerned.

Forgiving isn’t on top of most people’s to do-list.

Do you know yours?

And secondly we must understand who’s reminding us of the offense.

You will be surprised when you find out everything you remember isn’t from you.

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14)

Our attitude of forgiveness can be measured on a scale from 1 to 10.

A 1 is when you feel obligated to forgive. When this person reads the above scripture they feel a sense of duty.

They feel they have to forgive because God said so.

It’s forced.

Where as a person with a 10 forgives out of joy.

He doesn’t forgive because God said to but because he’s moved by the Holy Spirit to obey.

He’s pleased to please God.

Those who forgive out of joy understands the purpose of forgiving is for their own peace of mind and spirit.

Their emotional well-being is more important to them than holding on to a hurt from someone who had wronged them.

One of the biggest stumbling block in our spiritual walk is our inability to forgive and forget.

The average person is in the 5 range where you will hear the phrase “forgive and never forget” the most.

They’re not one hundred percent willing to forgive so they tell themselves they will forgive but with reservations.

But to forgive without forgetting isn’t forgiveness at all!

There is no such thing as 15% or 50% forgiveness.

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will not remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12)

God can forgive without remembering because He’s supernatural and because He loves us.

We all have sinned and fallen short of His glory.

But through the blood of Jesus our sins are canceled out.

It’s over.


As Jesus said from the cross in John 19:30, “It’s finished.”

Understand humans can’t forgive without remembering their hurts.


Let me explain.

Right now stop and think about a time you had hurt someone.

Go ahead I’ll wait…

I bet it took you some time to remember didn’t it?

Now think about a time someone has hurt you.

Didn’t take as long did it?

Why is that?

Why when we hurt others we want forgiveness immediately and we can’t seem to remember those times but when someone hurts us we hold on to those hurts until hell or high water.

Because we focus too much on the way we have been mistreated.

You see, when someone reminds you of your wrong (Satan uses people just like God do) you don’t focus on it therefore it doesn’t have the power to tempt you.

But when Satan reminds you of the time you have been hurt you focus on it and that gives it power.

It then turns into temptation.

You become bitter and resentful and eventually you sin by acting-out and being unforgiving.

Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored. May your Kingdom come soon. May you will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven. Give us our food for today, and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (Matthew 6:9-13).

Another word for yield is surrender.

You surrender daily whether you recognize it or not.

You’re either surrendering to God, Satan or Self.

That’s why Jesus taught his disciples to pray this prayer.

He knew Satan is the Father of liars and the master of deceit. And when you tell yourself you ‘forgive but never forget’ that’s just Satan at work.


There is a difference between forgetting and denial.

When you’re in denial the hurt is still present it’s just buried inside you.

But when you forgive and forget you have given it to God and when the devil reminds you of it there’s no feeling tie to it.

You no longer own the hurt.

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

Paul wasn’t focus on his hurts and his past he was focus on doing God’s will.

It’s hard for God to use you if you’re focusing on yourselves.

After you have given your hurts to God and forgetting them you must look forward to what lies ahead by serving others.

He has a plan for you.

He wants us to love others more than ourselves so here are some ideas to help you forget what Satan says and love others:

  • Take care of others more

  • Spend more time with family

  • Show more appreciation

  • Be more patient and forgiving

  • Sever with no string attached

  • Do things that aren’t ‘your job’

  • Help with unpleasant tasks

  • Pray for the ones who hurt you

“But if you are willing to listen, I say love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for the happiness of those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” ( Luke 6:27-28)

You no longer have to be controlled by unforgiveness and Satan reminding you of your hurts.

Even though your feeling may not change from past hurts you don’t have to be held captive by them.

You have the power within you to forgive AND forget and the power to press on toward what Christ has for you- a happier and abundance future.







Categories: Forgiveness, Relationships

Tags: , ,

34 replies

  1. This is an awesome article!!! I really enjoy reading it! I like to surround myself with positive people like yourself. I have started a small project which is an e-newsletter called “F.U.S.E.” It stands for “Fire Uniting Strength of Empowerment” It’s basically a newsletter about inspiration, encouragement and empowerment. I just sent out the first issue yesterday, but I wanted to ask you if you wanted to subscribe to my e-newsletter? I send it out monthly as well. Once again thanks for the post! 🙂

    • It’s good to see you here again Patrice. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed it. That’s a blessing. I would be more than happy to support your e-newsletter. That’s what the blogging community is for. God bless!

      • Thanks!! I had taken a little break from my poetry, but now I’m trying to at least write a poem once a week. I want to create new material for next year as well as create an 8 track poetry cd. For what is your email address so I can add you to my list for the e-newsletter?

  2. Great post Vernon. Forgiving others is one of the characteristics of the ‘new man.’ We need this for the New Year. Thank you.

    • Amen!

      I was actually thinking about the New Year when I wrote this Beverley. It’s what inspired me. To me it’s going to be a year of action,getting out of my comfort zone and taking risk. A big part of that will be directly attached to how well I forgive and forget.
      Thank you Beverley!

  3. Excellent post, Vernon! If we are being honest with ourselves we need to recognize that without the forgetting part we are not truly forgiving. If I feel that I have been wronged by a friend and subsequently forgive them then I cannot bring up the wrongdoing at a later date to throw back in her face…there is no forgiveness in that. Thank you for a thoughtful read. 🙂

    • Hi Karen,

      You are so right about bringing up the past and throwing it back is their face. People do that a lot then justify their action. The key is honesty just like you said. First we get honest with God then ourselves.

      The more we experience forgiveness from Him them ore we are forgiving to others. Forgetting is a natural respond to God’s love.

      It’s always good to hear form you!

  4. Hi Vernon sir,

    Your newest blog theme is so wonderful. I love it!

    Moreover, the blog name is so beautifully thought and created … “Starts and ends with you”. Aw that is so nice.

    Furthermore, I guess you removed the by opting for a custom domain. Congratulations! 🙂

    A quick question, I am more familiar with Blogger than WordPress. So I just wanted to ask you whether in WordPress you can easily change the favicon of your blog to make it more nicer? 🙂

    I subscribed. 🙂 And that tweet buttons have made the job much easier than ever.

    Coming to the post, Yes, I too believe in forgive but never forget.

    Oh I heard these lines:

    “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14)”.

    I heard them in my school.

    I agree with the points you mentioned. They are all so heavenly and devine.

    The post full of positivity and I will surely now forgive and forget because God forgive me and never expected me to be perfect.

    I am so happy that I started my day by reading this post.

    Thanks a lot Vernon sir for changing my thoughts and bring in some positivity in my thoughts and actions.

    Loved the post,
    Rohan Chaubey.

    • Hi Rohan,

      Great observation! You notice every single thing I done with my blog. I’m impressed. It was time to give my blog a little facelift. 😀

      I came up with the name ‘starts and ends with you’ because I’m a strong believer that our problems and our solutions in life are inside us. It’s how we perceive things and how we respond or react to things that causes our problem not the problem itself.

      But in order to find out if you’re being influenced by the flesh or the spirit you will need to do some Self Reflecting.

      To answer your questions all I did was change my theme like you notice. With my other theme I did a lot of work getting it to look half-way decent. But I won’t say it was hard even to a guy who never worked on blogs layouts before. I hope that answered your question.

      Little buddy I’m blessed to hear this post inspired you. We have to be careful of what we tell ourselves. When we tell ourselves we will forgive but never forget, we’re putting a limitation on what God can do. No matter how bad the offense was God has the power to walk us through to the other side.

      Thanks for visiting and Happy New Year Rohan!

  5. Vernon this is an awesome post indeed! The main enemy of man is his anger. For it takes away the power of clarity and makes us forget the power of forgiveness!

    You have brilliantly put in words a positive message which is bound to improve the people who read it! God Bless and looking forward to reading more of your posts!


    • Hi Nikshep,

      Thanks for the reminder how anger plays a major role in our unwillingness to forgive. You’re right when you said it keeps up from seeing clearly and from being able to listen actively.

      Sometimes it’s hard for us to find the balance between what actually taking place and our perception of what’s happening. Later when we’re calmer we find out that what we thought was happening really wasn’t. And that’s when most people ask for forgiveness.

      Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hi Vernon,
    Excellent post. I totally agree with the quote you’ve mentioned in your post.
    “Forgive and let go, Forget and move on”. There is no such thing on earth that can stop us to forgive. It’s just our way of thinking how can we take it or.
    This is an amazing post on very serious topic. Yeah there would be no doubt that it’s not an easy to forgive but it’s not impossible.


    • Hi Mustafa,

      That is a nice quote I found to support this post. I like it too. That’s a powerful statement you said there! Imagine what the world would be like if we all felt this way about forgiveness?

      If we were determined to forgive and forget like we are determined to hold on, our earth would be full of love and mercy.

      Yes this is a serious topic we all should take to heart. Thank you for those kind words.

  7. This was a great read and forgiveness is a topic that is always a good reminder because and as you stated in the beginning of the article, sometimes we forgive but we don’t forget and not forgetting can hold us hostage. A good way to start off the new year and HAPPY NEW YEAR to YOU and ALL the BEST for 2015!

    • Richard Happy New Year to you and your family as well!

      I like you using the word hostage because that is exactly what happens. The definition says its a person held by one party in a conflict as a pledge pending the fulfillment of an agreement.

      That’s what happens when we say we forgive but don’t forget. Our mind holds on to those hurts pending the fulfillment of an agreement. An false agreement that holding on will some how make it better or go away. Holding on never changes what had happened to us.

      Thanks for visiting!

  8. HI Vernon,

    How beautiful the message spread by each religion is. All of them have only one message , which is to spread love and to be at peace with fellow beings. The satan in the form of few humans are destroying this message and are showcasing themselves as
    the true followers of Lord.

    You have awesomely written. There is an inner urge now to read bible after reading your post. Just to compare Bible and Bhagavad Gita.

    • Hi Ajay,

      Thank you and your comment is filled with the truth. I always tell people I’m not religious I’m spiritual. And love and peace are two spiritual principles I try to practice in my daily walk.

      Satan is deceiving and he have many disguises. We need to keep loving one another because love never fails.

      Thanks for dropping by!

      • The way you have blended your blog with Spiritual ideas has inspired me and i have decided to include the same in my blog too. Whatever my aunt taught me in my childhood days would be presented there..
        Thanku for being the inspiration.

      • That’s awesome to hear Ajay! I’m glad I inspired you.

        We are here to help each other grow spiritually as long as we can remember that we will continent to prosper. You have been an inspiration to me also.

  9. Hello, Vernon,

    Excellent article and good thoughts for the mind, heart and soul. 🙂

    I agree with the principle you have laid out in your article. However, I think as humans it’s extremely difficult to have something be completely erased from our intellectual memory.

    Your points are well taken, but I think it’s more descriptive of being bitter or resentful, which is a sin.

    I actually do remember things that folks have done against me, and I’m not angry with them, or resentful or bitter, but I do have a mental recollection of the event (meaning it’s not wiped from my memory.)

    Your points made me think – I can pray for these folks that have wronged me, and truly wish them all the best – knowing that God is the judge, not me.

    So, I think I’m forgiving and choosing to be better (not bitter), and allow God’s blessings to flow from me as much as possible.

    Great food for thought!

    Happy New Year!

    • Hi Carol,

      It’s always a pleasure to hear from you. I agree that it’s impossible to erase something totally from our memory. Our brain is such a remarkable tool we all have been blessed with. Man can’t even make a computer that’s more efficient than our mind.

      But sometimes it wants to focus on things that doesn’t add valve to our lives today, like the past. And it like to focus of the things we have no control of.

      The point I was trying to make was when we remember those things try focusing on something different and more positive,

      The Good Book tells us to focus on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy and excellent so we can have a peace of mind and also so we can FORGET at that moment the thoughts that’s not healthy for us.

      Thanks for sharing and I hope I’m clearer this time.

  10. Hi Vernon,
    I first time visit on your post. It is much interested. According to me, we can forgive any one but it is hard to forget their mistake. And you have covered very nice points in your article .
    All things are pretty good but I have a suggestion if you dont mind. I think there may be a little thing you need to improve in your post. That is text alignment. It looks a little bit odd when your lines ends here and there. You should make it justify so it will looks more pretty.
    Thanks for this great post.
    With regards,
    Naveen Kumar

    • Hi Naveen,

      It’s a blessing to have you visit my blog.

      I’m always open to ways I can improve my blog so thanks for suggesting that and I took your advice and it does look a lot better. Please feel free to continue to share your thoughts on ways I can improve.

      Have a blessed day!

  11. What a powerful post Vernon. I agree that many are right in the middle of that scale. But I must admit, when we can forgive with pure joy in our heart it feels so good and you feel such a weight leave your body.

    Many times when we hold a grudge we are only hurting ourselves. The other person does not know or could care less if we are upset with them. It is definitely Gods desire that we forgive just as he forgives us. I truly love your blog and your message. This will be a home away from home for me for sure!

    • Thanks for the kind words about my blog Nate!

      I have to agree with your statement about grudges or resentments. No matter how long we hold on to them, it wont get better. And it says a lot our our spiritual condition of our heart.

      Forgiving does lift burdens off our backs. And it gives us the opportunity to love unconditionally. Because not only do we need to give forgiveness but we must also be willing to accept it. First from God then ourselves and finally others. In the end it’s all about spiritual growth.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  12. I just started learning how to deal with hurts. Sometimes I think I have forgiven but then I remember the person or incident and the hurt pops back up.
    Then, I forgive and each time the memory comes with the intended hurt, I say to God, myself, the offender, and the devil that I have forgiven and let go. As many times as I remember I do this and I find that before I know it, I remember without accompanying pain.
    Now, It happens faster and I almost seem to remember without any pain, the minute the incident occurs the Holy Spirit helps me and I forgive and let it go!

    • Hi Ugochi,

      Learning how to forgive is a process like you mentioned. I was one of those who if you hurt me I would keep my foot on your neck. Then I asked God to help me learn how to forgive. Because He said we have not because we asked not.

      And on any given day I could fall back into those old behaviors so I’m constantly giving what ever I’m going through to God.

      Thanks for visiting!

  13. Wonderful post, so many great points! Your blog has become one of my favorites.

  14. Hi Vernon,

    It seems like you gave new look to your blog for this New Year. This article is the first inspiring article I’ve read in this year. The references of Bible in between gives strength to your article brother. Love the way you ‘started’and ended it’ with grace. Thank you for such a blissful article.

    Have a great year ahead 🙂

    • Hi Sasidhar,

      It’s good to see you here again. You’re right I did change the theme. It’s part of my commitment to myself. I’m blessed to hear it kicked off your New Year with inspiration. What a wonderful way to start it!

      I try to back up what I’m saying with Bible scriptures to let my readers know I’m not just talking. It’s challenging sometimes because two people can look at the same scripture and interpret differently. I only speak on what the spirit reveals to me.

      I hope this won’t be my last inspiring post for you buddy.

      Have a great week!

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