Over the years, I’ve heard people say that they were willing to forgive but refuse to forget. Without cutting hairs on this topic, it seems the sea of forgetfulness is a good as any virtue offered the Christian.
Most certainly, I would hope Jesus ‘forgets’ my sins or at least doesn’t judge me eternally on the basic of my faults. In other words, addressing people as such: He told a lie, therefore he is a liar. This type of logic covers a host of sins and bad behaviors.
For some reason, and not to my amusement, it is generally believed that a good person can go bad overnight and that it is almost if not impossible for a bad person to turn good. Of course, a deeper inspection of this introspection would reveal the negative thinking and the obviously flawed thinking behind it.
Most of this hinges on memory. We judge others based on how others have ‘wronged’ us and vow to protect ourselves in the future. NO one is going to contest your need for protection, but at times we take this way too far.
I know some compulsive people who have all the wrongs against them down to the year, month, week and day of occurrence. In the details of any conversation, these incidents come up again and again with a seemingly newness to them. In other words, the ‘victim’ experiences the emotions over and over again—to the point that healing can never take place. These people are infused with hurt and pain.
Thus, I think for some people that they can’t and won’t forget and some can, but refuse to make the effort to try. Anyone can see the damage as a result.
In this way, forgetting and forgiving go hand in hand. Here, the two must meet—otherwise a person is stuck in a quagmire of emotion. My experience teaches me that even for those who are active, who are sincere in forgiving require years to overcome the damage. But overcoming is exactly our task, for it is probably most impossible to minister to another if we are forever foraging back into our own pain.
Reaching out to others requires a risk. The risk is necessary in order for both parties to grow. Insomuch that Jesus reaches out to us daily, we must do the same for others. All of this involves loving the unlovable. Without this it is impossible to truly love. Forgiveness begins with forgetting—at least forgetting so new memories may be established. The new memories, good memories are those worth remembering forever.