Is Forgive & Forget Biblical?

I agree. Forgiveness is a good thing for one’s emotional health. But I see no reason to even consider forgetting, much less figuring out how one would literally and intentionally forget something hurtful enough to merit such consideration.

Most of us seem to agree that getting over something or letting go is good. Yet, it still seems to me that if we can manage to forgive, forgetting is unnecessary. “I probably should forgive you, but I forget what for.” When forgiveness means moving on with one’s life, that’s a good thing.

In a discussion recently, I was told that the Bible says to forgive and forget. I know scripture says a lot of things, but forgiveness seems like a New Testament trope for being more loving. At least that is implied. Examples that seem to demand forgiveness include Matthew 6:14-15, Ephesians 4:32, Hebrews 12:14-15 and 2 John 1:8.

Not that your average American Christian is up to that since real forgiveness and love are not exactly low hanging fruit these days.

I suppose the old because the Bible tells me so is good enough for many devout Christians, but what about the rest of us? Being hurt by someone can be a lifelong mental or physical burden. Revenge may be sweet, but it seldom solves the problem or reconciles damaged relationships.

The perpetrator may be contrite and ask for forgiveness. He or she may even attempt some form of amends. But what if they don’t? The prayer goes, “…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us….” Here again, while I see no reason to make such a deal with any god, I still find forgiveness and reconciliation to be good things given the right circumstances.

How we define forgiveness makes a big difference. What it is and what it isn’t can help with finding happier days. I don’t think forgiveness means forgetting. It also does not mean that no harm was done or that what the guilty person did is now okay. Of course, it’s not.

It means we can stop fretting and walking around angry, plotting our revenge, or finding ways to fix it. Forgiveness means we try to move toward the issue no longer being a burden on us, no matter what the Bible says.

I’ve found that time helps me to work through a process of forgiveness. It is not an event like the flipping of a light switch. Trust is another issue. I’m not sure what the bible says about that and I don’t care.


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