I hear the term “forgive and forget,” but I am unsure what the difference is between forgiving and forgetting. Can you shed some light on this? Thanks.

First, let us consider the term “to forget.”  It has at least two shades of meaning.  First, it can mean this: to put the hurtful event behind one so that it is not always front-and-center, causing strife in a relationship that needs to be nurtured.  Second, it can mean a kind of moral amnesia in which the forgiver fails to consider issues of justice and therefore is prone to being hurt again.  When people “forgive and forget” they try to do the first and avoid the second meaning of the term “to forget.”  When we forgive we not only put the hurtful event behind us but also we acknowledge the personhood in the one who was unfair to us.  So, “to forget” centers on the hurtful event; “to forgive” centers on the person who acted in such a way as to create the hurtful event.

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