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Forgive without the futility of trying to Forget in 2010

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Richard O. JonesTo “Forgive and Forget,” considered spiritual wisdom by many, is merely a cliché in effectiveness. It is often said by well-intended people carrying a healthy but unpleasant memory, “I forgive but I don’t forget.” Many of these people pray in vain for strength to “Forgive and Forget.” In actuality, people are really asking God for amnesia or an early case of Alzheimer’s disease to take away their memory. A good memory is a blessing not a curse. Biblical scriptures taken out of context likely prompted this Forgive and Forget mindset. Yes, God forgets our sins. Jesus died on the cross for our sins; therefore, our transgressions are forgiven and forgotten.

The fact that we are not God makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to actually forget, though we can forgive, the wrongs done against us. The following is a verse that strongly implies forgetfulness:

“Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:18-19.) The scripture does not actually use the word “forgetfulness,” but this is where the idea comes from, in the opinion of this writer.

The theme of forgiveness and remembering no more is all through the Bible in the Old and New Testament; however, forgetting past hurt is impossible for most sound-minded people.

Forgetting, as used in the Bible, is only a figure of speech, which translates to “do not harbor ill-feelings about the past once you have said the transgression against you has been forgiven.”

My point is simply this, to forgive, to truly forgive, comes with the automatic power not to carry a grudge or continue to fester over the past incident. To say ‘forgive and forget’ is redundant, like saying ‘drop dead and die’ or ‘love and cherish.’ Therefore, we should stop tormenting ourselves with trying to forget an ugly or painful past but reflect on bad memories as a trial or history that you survived and moved on. As we know, history is not always pretty but it’s a fact and cannot be denied. The Jews will always remember the Holocaust as Blacks will always remember the cruelty and injustice of slavery, and the Indians will remember the theft of their land, as Japanese Americans will remember the interment camps; yet neither is at war with the nations that create the injustices. The fact of history does not cause the healthy minded people of the experience to walk in anger and suspicion.

To remember an injustice with forgiveness shows more character and strength than those that deceived or hurt you. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” (Romans 12:20 - New International Version.) Therefore, I say, to forgive and forget the reason you forgave is absence mindedness.

In 2010, forgive and remember, with strength and mercy in the spirit of Jesus Christ.

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