One of the main question that is often asked by new believers is: Can we really forgive and forget? Or, better still, Should we both forgive and then forget about the things that people have done to us?
Usually, a very learned “Bible Teacher” or “Bible Student” will quickly point out the fact that no such scripture adding forgetting to forgiveness exists anywhere in the Bible. However, there is scripture that has both forgiveness and forgetting within its contextual theme.
It is Isaiah 43:25, where the Lord is speaking concerning sins. He says,
“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”(KJV)
Basically, the Lord reminds His people that it is He, alone, who forgives their sins; and it is He, alone, who chooses to never remember (but to forget) their sins. As we can see plainly, you have both the act of forgiving the offenses and the act or forgetting that those offenses ever occurred.
God, Himself, is our example of forgiving and then forgetting.
When God forgives, due to His immense wisdom and knowledge, He has to throw the offense in a place where He will never remember it again or He would remember the sin and have to judge the sin.
Where is the proof?
Isaiah 38:17 quotes Hezekiah’s prayer to God and his understanding how God handles his sins. He says,
“Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.(KJV)
The very act of God throwing our sins behind His back denotes the fact that God purposely chooses to forget our sins once He has decided to pardoned us. This is our example!
Why Should We As Forgiven Believers Care?
We are commanded by Jesus Christ in Matthew 6:14-15 to forgive others in order for God to forgive us. This is not a suggestion, this is, instead, a vital part of being able to receive forgiveness for our sins and transgressions. He does not hap-hazardly suggest that this might be something good to do. No, this is something WE MUST DO OR WE CANNOT BE FORGIVEN.
Never, ever make the decision to not forgive someone. Always, and this is vital to your eternal destination, always choose to forgive. It may be difficult at first, depending on the offense done against you, but always let yourself be open to forgiveness as a principle to live by.
Think of it this way:
If we decide to hold a grudge and never ever forgive someone, then we place ourselves in a position where we can never sin again, or we will die in our sins and face eternal damnation. Why?
I’m glad you asked.
It is this way because we have disqualified ourselves from receiving forgiveness just by making the decision not to forgive.
On the other hand, with the Holy Spirit’s help we can, in fact, forgive even the most heinous of acts committed against us. When we place our faith in Christ Jesus’ salvation work on the cross, we are able to both receive forgiveness and receive the Holy Spirit who will work the righteousness of Christ through us, including forgiving the wrongs that other people commit against us.
Where Does Forgetting Come in?
Therefore, can we really forgive and forget? Certainly, deciding to forget about an offense committed against us can be a spiritually healthy habit. Will we always forget? No, there are just some scars that never go away. Notice I said at the beginning of this paragraph “deciding to forget…” It may be virtually impossible to forget some things, but deciding to forget can make the act of forgiving much easier to handle.
Ways To Help Us Forgive
Jesus spoke about forgiving others probably more than anyone in the Bible. Not only did He command us to forgive in order to be forgiven by God, He, also, show us ways to forgive. Jesus taught in Matthew 5:44,
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”(KJV)
How do deal with those who wrong us in such a way which will help us to forgive them?
- Love your enemies
- Bless those that curse you
- Do good to those who hate you,
- Pray for those that despitefully use us and persecute us.