Forgiveness Does Not Mean Forgetting

By Karla Mcghan-Barthel

Sunday we started a new sermon series called Dumb Things Christians Say. I thought it was an interesting topic and I felt compelled to write about it because the message was so profound it hit my very soul.
We hear people say, “You forgive and forget,” and God knows I am guilty of saying those words too. But that is not something we do. Let me explain, when someone hurts you, whether physically or emotionally, you always remember. Just like you remember the fall you had that skinned your face and knees (yes, that was me) It doesn’t hurt anymore and it’s healed but I still remember it.
I used to think, you don’t forgive until you forget. I was reminded it’s not true. You CAN forgive without forgetting. However, by forgiving you are making a choice of not ever bringing that transgression up again with the other individual or other individuals. You have made that choice.
I once heard “forgiveness is easy, until you have to do it yourself’ and boy isn’t that the truth? Yet, the power of forgiveness is immense. Really, forgiveness is not about the other person. Even when you think it is or the other person needs to apologize, it is still not about them. When you forgive, you are letting go of the power that transgression has on you, regardless of the other person.
From a theological standpoint, God all knowing, omnipresent, all powerful doesn’t “forget”. How scary that would be if He forgot the covenant he made with Noah and wiped us out with rain again right? He remembers all of our transgressions, yet…wait for it…HE CHOOSES NOT TO BRING IT TO OUR ATTENTION OVER AND OVER AGAIN. As forgiven, saved, and believers He has already forgiven our sins; those we have made, are making, and are about to make. On that faithful day we meet Him again, He will not be like,”Hey that gum you stole, that was very bad and I want you to feel guilty for it forever and ever”.
“If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive.” – Mother Teresa

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