Do you know that the phrase ‘forgive and forget‘ has no place in the Bible?
With forgiveness seen as the most “good person” thing to do, Is it a must?
Forgiveness is not something you do for another person, it is for yourself. It is a selfish act.
Sometime ago, I harbored some hurt and anger towards some persons. They were probably chilling and having a great time, but I wasn’t. I felt so hurt and as much as I tried, I could not just let go.
Then I took a different approach to it. Simply put I was tired of letting someone somewhere control they way I felt. That’s what unforgiveness does.
I decided to write a letter of forgiveness. It definitely seemed a little bit stupid to me, because I felt I was the one hurt here, but after taking wise counsel, I did. I sent the message and became better.
It was not automatic though, it was gradual. Anytime thoughts of how I felt wronged crept in, I instead turned it to prayer of kindness. I am no Saint, so this did not come easy.
The worse is when you feel you have been wronged and the other person does not see anything wrong in what they have done. It seems so unfair that you have do be the one doing all the work, but remember it is for yourself.
Is there a timeline for forgiveness?
Quite tricky this question. The bible says, if you don’t forgive, then your heavenly father would not forgive you.
Quite scary if you ask me, because I do know I wrong the heavenly father a lot. So if He is not offering me forgiveness based on my own actions then I am in trouble here. In other words, I need to forgive to earn my own forgiveness.
There is no timeline for forgiveness and frankly speaking, I believe it determined by the degree to which you have been hurt. A friend told me that forgiveness for him can occur when he finds a tangible reason.
And his tangible reason is this, “coming to the realization that some people behave the way they do, because they lack understanding”. Their lack of understanding here is irrespective of how deliberate their actions may have been.
I also believe, that there is nothing someone does to you, that cannot be forgiven. There is nothing that cannot be put behind you. The earlier you forgive, the better for you.
Must you keep in touch with a person after forgiving?
Well there are different schools of thought. I believe it should be judged on a case by case basis. Its OK to detach, you must protect yourself too.
Limit their influence to maintain your sanity. If you feel that associating with them could act as unhealthy triggers for you.
Forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same. Sometimes reconciliation is not appropriate, especially if there is no assurance that it won’t happen again. For reconciliation to take place, the parties involved have to be on the same plane.
So the phrase forgive and forget, how does it apply and where did it come from?
I have heard this phrase countless times. The proponents always throw it around, but they don’t spell out how you should do it.
The dictionary defines forget as “to be unable to remember a fact, something that happened, or how to do something:”
So how does that happen? Do you suddenly develop amnesia? Medically, there are some levels of hurt that do trigger amnesia, but what I am referring to here is a conscious effort at forgetting. How possible is that?
Sure you can forget little things like a broken plate, spilled coffee, but how do you forget let say, a partner cheating?
A little research, shows the phrase came from the 14th century, and is a loose translation of “let bygones be bygones“.
Practical Steps to forgiveness
Forgiveness has to be practical. It is deliberate
1) Every time the thought of the offense comes, shift your focus to something positive.
2) Accept that things do not always go the way we want.
3) Do away with the victim mindset. Appreciate the lessons you have learned, be grateful for experiences that could lead to growth. Be the Hero, its your story, so change the narrative.
4) Forgiveness is not a one time occurrence. It has to be maintained. As often as you remember, you forgive.
I would love to hear your thoughts on forgiveness. How do you handle being wronged? Do you think one can actually forgive and forget?
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3 v 13