I heard someone say that she wished her loved ones would just forget about the wrong that she had done and move forward. The idea is a nice idea, that when we do wrong others would forgive and forget. In fact, the first part of that is simply to forgive. But, as hard as it may be to forgive, it is even harder to forget.
You will actually often here people say, “I do forgive you, but I will NEVER forget!”
The Word of God often tells us to forgive. In fact, it says in Matthew 18:20-22, “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”
It also says, “And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.” (Luke 17:4) So, we can clearly see that forgiveness is essential. But, let’s get to this business about forgetting.
Forgetting something is the equivalent of something dying out. Habits, knowledge, ideas, etc., are established by constant repetition of them, and likewise, they end by constant neglect of them. If you want for people to forget about something, you just discontinue the behaviors that remind them of it. Likewise, if you want to forget something that someone did to you, you also have to starve it by stop talking about and thinking about it. (If you want to know how to stop thinking about it, you must learn to catch it at first thought and challenge/rebuke it with a counter thought against it – see 2 Corinthians 10:5)
The more that those reminders are neglected and REMOVED (if it’s a behavior), the more it will start fading from memory until eventually it will be so far in the back of your or their head that it seems weird to even bring it up anymore. Then, just like in Job 18:16-17, the past “…roots shall be dried up beneath, and above shall his branch be cut off. His REMEMBERANCE SHALL PERISH from the earth, and he shall have no name in the street.”
Starve the memory of your past mistakes by eliminating the behaviors that surrounded those mistakes (true repentance), and in doing so, the memory of those mistakes will fade into oblivion. And then though some people who have no life of their own may still try to bring it up beyond that, it would be so awkward on them because you are so much more different than that mistake once made.
If somebody has done something against you and you should be over it by now, yet for some reason are still mad, consider that you may need to forgive yourself.
Often, bitterness remains in a situation because we are unknowingly mad that we didn’t respond strong enough to really “teach them a lesson” for mistreating us. We also often find ourselves regretting that we trusted them enough to allow them to hurt us. Finally, we also have the situation where we were offended because the other person did something to us that we could have and maybe even had considered doing to them, but just never did it out of consideration for them, so we’re mad that we sacrificed and gave them more consideration than they were willing to give us in the same situation.
In any case, even when forgiving the other person, sometimes – even often – it is NECESSARY to also forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for being too kind, too considerate, too compassionate, too foolish, too naive, etc., to the point that somebody was able to take advantage of it and hurt you!
…and in such, you shall be strengthened. Bless you.
___________________________________________________For more guidance about forgiveness and other spiritual principles to help with establishing peace and balance in your life, please visit UGFE Ministries at www.ugfe.org.