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.
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.
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.
As Jesus said from the cross in John 19:30, “It’s finished.”
Understand humans can’t forgive without remembering their hurts.
BUT WE CAN FORGET!
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.
DO I BELIEVE I CAN FORGET MY PAST HURTS BY GIVING THEM TO GOD?
IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ME TO FORGIVE MY NEIGHBOR IF I CAN’T FORGIVE YOURSELF?