My memory can be faulty at times, but if I feel I have been wronged, I remember every single detail like it happened this morning, doesn’t matter how much time has passed. So the idea of forgetting was (sometimes is) a hard concept for me to grasp. Even thinking about turning the other cheek (Matthew 5:39), has me side eyeing God. When I realized forgetting was a part of the process my conversation with God went like this:
“I’ve forgiven them and accepted that they’re just a horrible person and that’s how they choose to live life. Why would I forget that and end up in the same situation?”
“So forget and have people think I’m stupid?”
“Yeaaaa, not trying to do that.”
It simply did not make sense. But then I realized it did not make sense for Jesus to come down to earth to save us. It does not make sense for God to continue to love us in spite of all the wrong we do. It does not make sense for Him to show us grace and mercy. But He does. But Jesus did. And surely if God can forgive me and treat me as though I have never sinned against Him, for His own glory (Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins), I know I can do the same for His glory. It’s not about me, it’s not about you, it’s not about the other person or the situation, it all comes back to God.
I know life is not like the movie Men in Black where we can wave a wand and erase our memory. Forgetting, just like forgiving is a choice you have to make daily. Forgetfulness will look different for everyone. In the Bible we have the example of the prodigal son, whose father welcomed him home with open arms after he had went out in the world and did whatever, losing all his money (Luke 15:11-32). Jesus instructed the disciples to shake the dust from their feet, if people refused to listen to them (Matthew 10:14). You have to figure out what forgetfulness looks like for you but it has to be from a place of love. You HAVE to consult God. And it may look different over time with different people.
People usually know when they have did us dirty and we’re feeling some kind of way about it. Sometimes it’s useful to have a conversation and let them know your feelings were hurt, and other times having a conversation with them, it’s like having a conversation with my 8 month old god daughter, who smiles at everything I say until she gets distracted by something else. Either way, it’s on you as a child of God to always choose to forgive and forget. You will be able to repair some relationships and bounce back like you never left, while other relationship may have reached the end of their season. The ending of this season will not be out of hate and anger, but it’s the path God has you both on. It’s okay to let go of things that are not good for your heart, and let me be the one to tell you, people who hurt you (physically, emotionally, spiritually), are not good for your heart (Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life).
So how do we forget after we’ve forgiven? I’m still working through this step but I attempt to live by the motto, “it’s not that deep.” Nothing is worth me missing heaven; no person, no thing, no situation, NOTHING! So if it takes me saying hello to the guy who never returned my phone call, “Hey! Hope all is well.” If it takes me liking a photo on Facebook because in actuality I really do like it, I’m click, clicking away. If it takes me “loaning” my cousin a dollar that I know I won’t get back, “just pay me back whenever.” If it takes me deleting a number and unfollowing them on Instagram, delete, delete, delete.
Forgiving and forgetting does not mean I trust that those who have wronged me will never do it again and we remain best friends while singing Kumbaya; it means I trust God enough to help me be able to treat them the way He treats them, with lovingkindness, meeting the need, doing good, and sometimes just letting them be. If a stranger were to see me interacting with this person, they should have no idea there was ever a situation. It’s not about being phony (even though sometimes I have had to fake it until I made it and I did make it) but extending the same grace that Christ offered to you; the same grace you and I might need from someone when we’re in the wrong.
I cannot be transparent enough on this post: forgiving and forgetting is still a struggle for me. I know some of my friends were reading this post thinking, “But you just called me last week about ____________.” Don’t do me lol. It is not very often that I feel wronged enough to start harboring unforgiveness in my heart, but when I do, I hold on tight. We don’t want God to hold on to our sins, so let’s start loosening the grip of others’ transgressions against us. In fact, let’s let go of it completely. Allow forgiveness to free you and forgetfulness to keep you free. And just a side note, Jesus said to forgive a person 490 times (Read Matthew 18:21-35).
Luke 6:28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
You can read part 1 here.