Why Do People Think They Can Forgive without Forgetting?

@mythociate (15763)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
January 22, 2011 7:59pm CST
In a Bible-study today we were talking about 'forgiving others' (I think we were reading one of the prophet Isaiah's servant-songs ... about how God's Servant is spit-upon and judged-unfairly and yet forgives). And what struck me is how people 'complained' that "Well, I forgave so-and-so for this-and-this-and-this-and-this; I must be a child o` God!" (I don't know if that's exactly what was said, but I quit listening after the second 'this'). 'I quit listening' because "remembering what you forgave for" is a sign that they ARE NOT TRULY FORGIVEN! Grace wipes the slate clean! Why do people remember the sins for which they claim to forgive people?
6 people like this
14 responses
@Hatley (164506)
• Garden Grove, California
23 Jan 11
mythociate you are saying we pay lip service if we forgive but cannot forget. okay lets just say if your father molested you as a child because your mom was ill in the hospital. you hated him for what he did and when you grew up yourhubby told you that was making you ill that hatred and of course he was right too. I went to ny father and told him i did forgive him for injuring me as a child then asked why he thought he had to do such a cruel thing. he could not answer me or would not. now I am a bad person because I cannot really forget that.?for one thing he injured me physically and so when I wanted to have another child I could not as two childbirths tore up a malformed uterus completely and also cause my second to be brain damaged. I am supposed to forget what a selfish thoughtless man did to me simply because I was a girl child? tell me how to do that please.I did forgive him but I cannot forget it. I am a human being not a saint.you may be A SAINT but I fall very short.
@mythociate (15763)
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
23 Jan 11
This might sound a little harsh. Maybe it is, maybe it's not; but here' goes. You are "right" to blame him, but--as long as you do--you carry that sin with you. No sin can enter the Heavenly kingdom---no matter whose fault it is. If you want to blame anyone for the damage, blame God; God won't know any better (which is a 'harsh' way of saying, 'God will fix it as if it WERE his fault.' Or something) As far as The World knows, you were meant to have only two children. As far as The World knows, you were born that way. It's a shame that it happened any other way (which it may have, so we treat it like other shameful things that happened).
4 people like this
@_sketch_ (5709)
• United States
23 Jan 11
I disagree. I believe that forgiveness isn't about pretending something didn't happen, or suppressing a memory; but rather accepting that something happened and choosing to not hold any anger or hatred towards it. If someone said that they forgave someone and later brought up the incident with an intention to hurt, then I would say that person had not truly forgiven them. But just to remember, or even to talk about, something is not proof that one hasn't truly forgiven. Lastly, I would just like to give my answer to your question, "why do people remember the sins for which they claim to forgive people?" I welcome all my experiences in life and I cherish the many lessons that I have learned from them. To me, life is about acceptance, which is something that peace cannot exist without. To others however, it seems that life is about war- just doing, forgetting, and surviving. To me, it isn't about us vs them; it's only about us; for we are all one.
2 people like this
@mythociate (15763)
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
23 Jan 11
So, remember situations and the conflicts that arise from them, but not the people---coz people can change, right?
4 people like this
@_sketch_ (5709)
• United States
23 Jan 11
There's no reason not to remember the people.
1 person likes this
@mythociate (15763)
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
23 Jan 11
Excellent way to forget the offense!
4 people like this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
23 Jan 11
A very honest and bible-knowing pastor told me this once when I asked him a similar question. My inlaws were absolutely horrible to me and my kids. I asked how I could deal with it...I keep trying and trying and they just trash us every single time. Does God say I have to keep going back and letting them trash and hurt me and my kids? He said to me that God says you have to forgive, but he never said you have to forget and just keep going back and letting them continue to hurt you. If you use remembering it as a weapon or cause you just haven't actually fogave yet...that is wrong. But...you use the "not forgetting" as the tool that keeps you from letting them hurt you over and over. If you forget what they did, they you will keep going back only to get more of the same. God doesn't expect you to continue to let yourself get hurt or be involved in something that you know will only end up in your getting hurt. Not forgetting doesn't mean you haven't forgiven, it just means that you are remembering the reason you aren't doing something. If I forget that they hurt me and my kids, then I will continue to go back and continue to be hurt. God doesn't want that for anyone. So he tells you to forgive them...but don't keep going back for more.
2 people like this
@mythociate (15763)
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
23 Jan 11
But you shouldn't assume what their coming back for is "to hurt you." You might think about why they're like that, and come up with a good reason ... to help you get past it.
4 people like this
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
25 Jan 11
You got me wrong... I go to them and they trash me and my kids. I don't have to keep going back and letting them hurt us. They don't come to me. Don't come to my house etc. I keep trying to keep the family together and all and they are the ones that are doing the hurting. I don't hurt them, they hurt us and God doesn't say we have to continue to go over there or include them when they arejust going to hurt us. Chance after chance after chance I have given them to do right. It's their choice to be hurtful...I don't have to give them the opportunity.
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@mythociate (15763)
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
26 Apr 11
Right
4 people like this
• United States
23 Jan 11
I do not easily forgive but I eventually do as I have to be able to live with my conscious and the righteous of God. However, I am one that grows numb, meaning I do not feel hatred and or like the person. Sure I can be amicable but I will not have any feelings one way or another. I can certainly help depending on the situation. But I will not have any further thought about the situation and or the person, unless of course we are in the same room as I can amicably greet. It is my understanding that God wants us to help ourselves before he can help us. So this is my way of being cautious. Meaning not falling in the trap again, and not allowing what suspicions before me may result me in yet another similar situation.
@mythociate (15763)
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
23 Jan 11
If I were to plan to wrong anyone, it would be you!... wait a minute, it would be everyone BUT you ... leaving you feeling left out, so ... oh! you know!
4 people like this
@dodo19 (33324)
• Beaconsfield, Quebec
26 Jan 11
I think that it is difficult to fully forget certain things. There's that part of our brain that remembers things, that contains memories. I think that forgiving is not really about forgetting per se. I think that it's more about coming to terms with what happened, accepting that it happened, and not letting this event bother you anymore. I think that this is more what forgiving is about.
2 people like this
@knicnax (2234)
• Philippines
24 Jan 11
Nice point. I believe that if you can remember the reason why you forgave someone. Forget should not be taken in the literal sense. You can't forget something horrible, just as you can't forget something nice. You need to have amnesia to accomplish that. Forget here, is forgetting the pain that the wrong-doer caused. It's not forgetting the sin, but forgetting how hurt you were. Forgetting means being indifferent to pain that the sin caused you. When you are still hurting even if you say you have forgiven, then you have not completely forgiven. Forgiving someone is not as easy as just saying it. Saying it is just a step, a start into the path of forgiveness. Not that I'm comparing God to us, but we are taught that he forgives sins, right? Then why is it that they also tell us that when we die, what we did on earth counts. If God has forgiven us, then it shouldn't count at all, because it's supposed to have been "forgotten" by God. Catholic faith is weird like this. Stuff the catholic church says contradicts the other things that she says. Though I know that the priests are there to help us interpret the word of God properly, I still think that how we worship and praise God also relies on how we interpret what He said too.
@mythociate (15763)
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
24 Jan 11
Great response! (I might say 'best' response, but that would be my Napoleonic genome kicking in ... the habit of treating every young woman as if she were the only female human on God's green earth!) You do forget the pain, but not by 'trying to forget it.' Rather, you forget it by 'remembering something else' (counting your blessing, solving a different problem, etc.) Yes, 'accepting the apology' is only 'hearing the doorbell of forgiveness,' it's not 'opening the door.' You 'open the door' by helping the 'unforgiven one' clean their slate ... which probably includes helping them repay the wrong they've done (if they can).
5 people like this
@knicnax (2234)
• Philippines
24 Jan 11
I agree. Remembering other things will definitely help you in forget the pain. It's like a stack of lunch trays. The more trays you stack, the more that the lunch tray at the bottom isn't used. In forgiving, the more good deeds the person does (or happens to you, whichever the case may be), the more you forget about the pain, the more you think that what happened before is not important anymore.
1 person likes this
@mythociate (15763)
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
24 Jan 11
4 people like this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
26 Jan 11
I think you can forgive without forgetting. Somebody does something mean to you. They apologize, you believe they are sincere, you forgive them. You do that in the belief that it isn't going to happen again. If it doesn't happen again, you can truly forgive them, maybe even forget once enough time has passed. However, if some time later it does happen again, that is when you need to remember, and decide whether you can forgive them a second time. Without the memory of the first transgression, you cannot take proper action on the second one.
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@mythociate (15763)
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
26 Apr 11
I think the proper action to take the second time is the same action you took the first time. If you taking a different action every time, you lose faithfulness.
4 people like this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
26 Apr 11
I don't think so. The first time you may forgive, maybe even the second time, but at some point with a recurring problem, you're going to stop trusting, stop forgiving, maybe end the relationship.
@rosegardens (3043)
• United States
26 Jan 11
lol. If they are rambling on about the transgression against them, they may not have forgiven the person. If I said I forgive so and so for this and that, then I know in my heart I do not because I have spoken about it publicly, PLUS I am gossiping. Sure, I may think about it from time to time, but I know when I tell someone about it months later, I did not forgive them because I'm still mad. People tend to hang on to the negative and often forget the positive. It is rather impossible to forget when someone has hurt us, but we need to push it from our thoughts and pray for God to heal us from the action of the other.
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@mythociate (15763)
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
26 Apr 11
That sucks for me, because I have a HUGE grudge; which is this: I was damaged by the U.S. government! (Oh, 'Land of the Free' ... meaning that whoever damaged me was 'free' to, no matter HOW poor that means I am now---doomed to this low-quality apartment, spending-money of less than below-minimum income-range. My ONLY source of income comes in DUE TO the fact that this mortal flesh CANNOT forgive the system that STOLE the abilities it needed to gain employment necessary to make even slightly-below average income (abilities that I cannot get back without inflicting serious pain upon ... never-mind )
3 people like this
• United States
24 Jan 11
I agree! If you remember what you were upset about, you haven't really forgiven anyone at all. Just saying the words doesn't make it factual.
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@mythociate (15763)
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
26 Apr 11
In fact, 'saying the words' actually reminds them what's wrong (more than it 'delivers grace'). I was gonna say that a highly-successful way to give/receive forgiveness is to 'repeatedly pray' (not necessarily a prayer with any specific meaning, but more just a 'general attitude of prayer' brought on by reciting a prayer over-and-over ... my favorite is the "Glory Be.") If you recite that prayer enough, your consciousness (especially the part of it that your subconsciousness controls) will change its base to that prayer ... kinda the way one's subconsciousness is based in one's native language.
3 people like this
• Philippines
24 Jan 11
People forgive but not forget in order for them to prepare themselves the second time around. If a person is capable of such heinous acts, they can do it again so if we forgive, it means we put aside the grudges. Not forgetting the fault doesn't mean that you don't forgive the person, it only means you're just being safe of what's possible to happen in the future.
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@mythociate (15763)
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
26 Apr 11
exactly. We forgive them 'in spirit' (whatever that means), but our mortal bodies still react by reflex.
4 people like this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
23 Jan 11
Remembering helps us not to let it happen again. I don't think that anyone should be dwelling on it or discussing it with everyone in a holier than thou kind of way, but I can see why it would be remembered. I'm the kind of person that doesn't hold a grudge, but I am not going to set myself up for another knockdown either. I will brace myself and be prepared next time.
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@mythociate (15763)
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
24 Jan 11
Right, by looking clearly at the circumstances that caused the situation in order to avoid like-circumstances in the future.
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@djbtol (5498)
• United States
23 Jan 11
I do not think that forgiveness means you will absolutely never remember the offense. Although God says he will not remember our sins, people are not the same. However, if you truly forgive someone, then you will stop rehearsing over and over in your mind the offense, and eventually, the offense may not even pop into your mind. In order for that to happen, I think you need to develop a relationship with that person after the offense so there are new memories and connections. Otherwise merely seeing that person will trigger a memory of the offense. One way to put that recall to good use is to set a goal that every time the offense is remembered, pray for that person and ask God to remove the offense from your memory. The challenge of forgiveness is also just another reminder of how big a deal sin is.
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@mythociate (15763)
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
23 Jan 11
Amen to all but the first part. Forgiveness doesn't absolutely forget AT FIRST, just like 'tearing down a wall with a sledgehammer' doesn't absolutely destroy the wall AT FIRST. But--when the forgiveness is complete--the offense is entirely gone.
4 people like this
@Graceekwenx (3163)
• Philippines
23 Jan 11
Hi myth. This is a good topic. I guess the reason why we think that we can forget without forgetting is because of loss of trust. One can claim to forgive but then would set conditions to at least have some level of security and confidence. There was this saying about the number of times we err, once is forgiveable, second is oops and third is stupidity. People who forgive but still retain the trust had been branded as foolish when all that they are doing is to show true compassion to the one who errs. Now, isnt that confusing?
1 person likes this
@mythociate (15763)
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
23 Jan 11
Yes, yes it is. To clear it up, I would forget names. I treat others as combinations of situations. Oftentimes we see a person's face & subconsciously remember the situations that person went through to put us through situations. The persons fade away; maybe the situations do too, but more slowly.
4 people like this
• Philippines
23 Jan 11
it is because people think forgiving is a gift, not a must.people think forgiving is a privilege.when people get hurt,they keep the pains in their hearts.when they forgive,a "scar" will be left,and they won't be able to trust that person again.just because you forgive someone doesn't necessarily mean that you can be her/his friend;you can be civil to that person.you can forgive him/her as a person,but that doesn't necessarily mean you have to be his/her friend again.
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@mythociate (15763)
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
23 Jan 11
People are branches of the vine. When they offend us and we don't forgive, we are each cut off the vine until we forgive, the forgiveness is accepted and the offense is repaid.
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