When We Forgive And Don’t Forget

As you read the following…I want you to ponder on its truth.  The blog below is from Hard Times Ministries.  This really resonates with me, because I have personally had some folks say to me, “I forgive you…but I’m not going to forget…”  I myself have tried to forgive some of the horrendous wrongs done to me in my lifetime…in fact, I thought I had forgiven the perpetrators , and forgotten their acts of cruelty against me; but then something comes up and that hurt, anger, resentment, and bitterness surfaces…and I know I still have not forgiven nor forgotten – not the way Jesus has done for me!  Take a look…I bet you’re right there with me…. anita


The idea of tossing sin into the Sea of Forgetfulness is a comforting concept.  While I’m not sure who came up with this idiom, it’s a good one and more or less based on:

 Micah 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

Or another passage (and many others in the Bible)

Hebrews 8:12

For I will forgive their iniquities, and remember their sins no more.

This is the type of response we have come to know about and from our Lord, Jesus and our Heavenly Father.  When we confess our sins, we desire for them to be washed away, gone forever, never to be brought up again.

Yet, in common practice most of us are as such:  “Okay, I will forgive him, but I will not forget.”
Statements like that generate problems and yes, I know how very human it is to feel that way.  However, forgiving and not forgiving ferments deep bitter feelings.


Jesus said:

Mark 11:25

25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Now here is where we have to get real. Our hearts, our feelings are to become as God and we are to forgive the same as we want God to forgive us.  This is not possible without forgetting.

I will admit this is next to impossible, nonetheless this is a commandment of Jesus.  It is a truism and there is no escape from that.

Of course, if someone stole something from you, it is hard to trust that person again.  If one committed murder to someone in your family, who would want that murderer to live next to you?  And this is the reality.

Jesus offers us forgiveness for far greater crimes against his Father in Heaven and we are to do the same.

Common sense explains that some sins against you take time to get over.  Any person who has gone through a divorce realizes this.  In fact, I dare say most all sins against us take time, and in that process we should strive to be like Christ and Christ minded.

The truth of all of this:  is this easy?  Is this even possible?

None of this is possible on earthly terms.  Yet, Jesus said all was possible with God.  Resultantly, then, we are to strive in that direction, knowing we haven’t arrived on that plain of goodness, of purity reaching the Mark of our Savior, the Christ.

However, I affirm and attest that if we are comfortable with forgiving and not forgetting, we are in fact failing to obey the words of Christ. So when we pray, let us throw all the sin, theirs and ours into that great body of water we call the sea of forgetfulness.  In that way we are one more step in serving our Master, Jesus the Christ.

T. F. Thompson

3 thoughts on “When We Forgive And Don’t Forget

  1. Agent X, Anita To both of you. What wonderful, thoughtful responses.You took what I said to a whole another level and a better one at that. All of this is correct. You see, our memories are hard-wired into connecting emotions. Thus, forgiving and remembering are tied together insomuch that the emotion brings us into the present tense of pain whenever we remember. I think at least part of the route is to REPLACE painful memories associate with one person or event to another. Much like weeping at night to experience joy in the morning according to Psalms. Thank both of you for your patience, thoughts and contributions. Thank you again.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanx for sharing… I usually read everything Tommy puts out, but I don’t recall this one.

    I would like to enhance the perspective on this a bit.

    What exactly is meant by forgetting?

    Here is why I ask: Jesus hanging on the cross prays, “Forgive them, Father, they don’t know what they do…” and I think I am correct to view his prayer there as pertaining to the crucifixion AS IT IS HAPPENING. He is in the middle of suffering death by this torturous method when he finds the grace to seek the forgiveness of those who put him there and who insult him as he endures it.

    Come Sunday morning, he is raised from the dead to everyone’s surprise! Woohoo! But did he forget what was done to him 3 days before? Do you or I forget? And when Doubting Thomas wants to see the holes, is either he or Jesus forgetting?

    BTW, I am really glad the post features Scripture that prompts forgetting. I notice it is God who forgets in the passage there. But it still comes in for review in this example I give. Has God forgotten what we did to his son? In fact, doesn’t he have a Judgement Day approaching still? And doesn’t this crucifixion have bearing on it? Will there be some there who God does not forgive or forget?

    Somehow, we need to account for these things. But how?

    I don’t know. But I am not out of thinking on it yet. I have more thoughts. And some of them, though they don’t settle the matter, I think will ease the tension a bit… and MAYBE provide a path worth deeper investigation.

    Have you ever successfully forgiven a person who wronged you? I mean a best friend or maybe spouse who really messed up and then made up and then perhaps weeks, months, or years later you realize that you don’t carry the hurt feelings over it anymore and that it is practically forgotten! In fact the happy vibe you share now would be threatened by bringing up the old wounds now because it is so deeply settled and buried – so hinting at it now would suggest you weren’t really over it and would blow it back open again. Have you ever had that experience?

    Even better yet, how about the community response? Someone betrays the church or the committee or the choir or whoever and there are hard feelings about it BUT then the matter gets resolved and settled. Now we all share a bit of the tension whether we are partly to blame or not. The forgiveness of this matter only works when the guilty person repents, makes amends, and apologizes. These acts met with grace on the part of the wronged are the full picture of forgiveness. And If I as a choir member go about reciting the offense to the others after this forgiveness is accomplished, then I am stirring up the tension of settled matters again.

    Arent we in a situation more akin to this with Jesus and his crucifixion? I mean, sure, he forgave us even as he was dying, but the forgiveness is made even more complete when I repent, apologize, and seek restitution!

    What about your kid? Has your kid ever wronged you? Did it hurt? Sure it did. Did you want to forgive that kid? Of course you did – this is almost universally true of us all.

    Let’s tap into that vibe a moment.

    When it is your own kid… don’t you WANT this thing done and over with at a level uncommon to other offenses? I know I do. I mean, of course I want my child to repent, own up to the mistake, learn from it, seek restitution AND THEN MOVE ON!!!! And I want the world to move on too so that my kid, having learned the tough lesson, can be free of it to go forward now hopefully better than he/she was before – wiser for it for sure!

    And that WANT, that DESIRE, a parent in particular has for this forgiveness – isn’t that somewhere in the neighborhood of what godly forgiveness is all about? Do you think he wants us to want it like that?

    But of course that is much harder when it is me wronged, or worse yet when it is my kid who is wronged. How can I ever forgive and forget that? What if my kid cannot recover? What if the damage is too high for restitution to mend? What if my kid is maimed or killed?

    You really should go and google Marietta Jeager. She lost her 7 year old daughter to a serial killer and helped catch him with her forgiveness!

    But did that mean the killer should just walk out of the jail free and the crime forgotten? I am not at all sure that Marietta could do that, but she began exploring forgiveness as soon as she realized the tragedy was killing her.

    But Marietta Jeager, for all her inspiration, is not the Word of God. But God is a Father whose Son was killed by his other children. God’s own heart is all over this map. He was wronged. His kid was wronged. His other kids did the wrong. He wants this thing forgiven fully so that his kids can move on.

    Somehow, all of this stuff must find peace in the accounting of my directive to forgive and forget, I think.

    Hope it helps.

    And thanx for this both Tom and Anita…


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally get what your saying! I have been wronged, but the “forgetting” part comes in -in my perspective anyway-when you don’t continue to wallow in the wrong done to you…you don’t STAY the victim…you give it to God and let Him recompense. Does that make sense? You will never completely forget what was done-especially if it was violent or the like, but you can let God deal with it, and let it go…I think…. That is what I have tried to do-and like I said at the beginning of the post, sometimes I think I have ‘let it go’, and then something happens to drudge it all up again; that’s when I have to take it before the Throne of God, once again, and ask Him to take it from me. And you are right about God’s forgiveness and forgetting…He forgives what we have done to His Son when we repent and ask for forgiveness. When the judgement day comes, I believe He will still wish in His heart that ALL MEN would have come to Him and repented. I don’t believe it will make Him happy to say, “Depart from me…” because the way I read the Bible, hell was made for the devil and his angels…but God is just, and as we all know, there are consequences to both good and bad behavior. Thanks for your comments…you ain’t in the boat alone brother!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s