Forgiving comes from the very heart of God. It is found throughout Scripture.
“Forgiving and forgetting” is not found in Scripture–at least not when it speaks of human beings. Yet, in the age of the Messiah God is spoken of as forgetting our sin and remembering it no more (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
As I think of this concept, I find it more and more difficult. What does it mean to forgive and forget? Is this even possible?
From a human point of view forgetting is not possible. It’s like being told not to think about pink elephants. At that point, all you can do is think of pink elephants. So in this sense we are not commanded or expected to forget an offense.
In fact, the greater grace may be shown when we are fully aware of the wrong and yet we choose to forgive.
What I believe most people mean by forgiving and forgetting is very much biblical. They mean you must forgive and let go. You must no longer hold the wrongs of another against them. Remember, love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13).
When we constantly remind others of their sins and failings, we can be sure forgiveness has not occurred. If we remind ourselves how miserable someone has made us we can be sure we have not forgiven.
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I believe the way we should handle forgiveness goes like this:
“Lord, in response to your command, I forgive my brother and release him from the offense. I do this because of You and for You. I promise at this point to let go of the offense and to no longer keep a record of the wrong. I promise no longer to bring the offense up to my brother or to you. Please help me to please You by seeing only the good in my brother.”
A better way to describe this process is forgiving and letting go.
By letting go of our pain and letting go of our desire to get even, we also let go of our right to hold on to it. Speaking the words of forgiveness results in victory over sin and victory over the pain.
Ask God to help you with your forgiveness and letting go. Ask Him to bless you as you bless those who have harmed you.