Tagged: “forgive and forget”

Forgive and forget: Do these really fit together?

I have come to realize that when we forgive, we do not develop a kind of moral amnesia.  Instead, we remember in new ways, without the deep pain we experienced at first.  We tend to remember the hurtful experiences of our life (such as a broken bone when the adult-person was a child, for example).  When we remember injustices in new ways, this helps us avoid being treated badly again in the same way by the same person.

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They say, “Forgive and forget,” but I just can’t blot out of my memory what happened to me.  Does this mean that I am not forgiving the person?

The term forget has more than one meaning.  It can mean not being able to remember what happened.  It can mean to not dwell on what happened.  It can mean that as we look back, we remember in new ways.  When we forgive, we can remember and this is all right.  As an analogy, if you have ever had a sports injury, you can look back; you do not forget in a literal sense the time of a challenging physical injury.  Yet, when you look back at the sports injury, you do not feel the pain in the same way as you did when the event happened.  I think it is the same with forgiveness.  We can look back, but we remember in new ways, without the acute pain being there for us now.

For additional information, see Forgiveness Defined.

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