Are we supposed to forgive and forget? Let’s discuss 3 important truths you need to know about forgiveness from a Biblical perspective to begin healing your hurting heart.
Forgiveness was one of the hardest things for me to process through. So many thoughts came to me.
“Does this mean that if I forgive someone it makes everything right?”
“If I forgive this person, am I letting them off the hook?
It hurt too much to think I had to “be okay” with this person or situation.
However, after learning more about forgiveness I understand it’s not about dismissing what happened but forgiving the debt owed to me.
Let’s keep going.
First, we must understand there is no limit to which we are to forgive. We don’t get to decide who is worthy of forgiveness and who is not. Despite what they have done or may do scripture is clear we are to forgive those who hurt us. Where does this lead us to when it comes to forgiving AND forget?
Matthew 18:21-22 says, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not just seven times, but seventy-seven times!”
Peter asked Jesus if forgiveness was to be offered seven times. The Jewish rabbis at the time taught that forgiving someone more than three times was unnecessary, citing Amos 1:3-13 where God forgave Israel’s enemies three times, then punished them.
When Jesus responded that forgiveness if offered four hundred and ninety times, far beyond that which Peter was proposing, it must have stunned the disciples who were listening. Although they had been with Jesus for some time, they were still thinking in the limited terms of the law (because they were under the law because Jesus didn’t go to the cross yet) rather than in the unlimited terms of grace.
Christians are only capable of this type of forgiving spirit because the Spirit of God lives within us. It is He who provides the ability to offer forgiveness over and over, just as God forgives us over and over.
This makes it clear that if God forgave the enormous debt of sin against a holy God, how much more should we be eager to forgive those who sin against us, who are just as sinful as they?
Yet the question we still consider is: Are we supposed to forgive and forget?
Forgiveness is not an emotion.
There are things that happen to all of us in this life that can deeply hurt us. The emotions and feelings that arise in times of pain will take time to heal. It’s a process.
However, forgiveness is an act of love and mercy that God has called us to, and the Holy Spirit anoints us to do.
Forgiveness makes way for healing to come.
Forgiveness opens your heart to the Father, abiding in His love that gives a place for your pain to heal so that you don’t give way for bitterness to grow in your heart.
Don’t confuse forgiveness for feeling good about what happened because feelings can take time to heal.
Forgiveness is not forgetting. Therefore, we do not forgive and forget. We forget, leave behind, our pain to keep it in its proper place.
To answer the question, should you forgive and forget let’s look to Paul. Paul shares in Philippians 3:13-14 that he forgets the past and things behind him and reaches for things set before him.
Paul doesn’t forget that he stirred up a mob that killed Stephen. He keeps his past in his past.
To forget is to receive forgiveness and not allow your past to dictate your present or run your future.
Forgiveness is not trusting nor is it ignoring an offense.
Forgiveness is simply the release of debt. We are releasing someone of debt. To forgive and forget doesn’t mean we don’t remember or try to act like we don’t care anymore.
Releasing someone of their debt says, “I am going to give you what you don’t deserve. You don’t owe me anything”
God is the only one who can avenge. He is the judge.
Romans 12:19, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Jesus paid our debt that was owed. There was no way for us to repay God for our debt. God so loved us that He sent Jesus and in that He forgave us of our debt.
Forgiving others starts with receiving forgiveness from Jesus.
Within the Lord’s prayer, Mathew 6:12, Jesus says, “and forgive us our debts,as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
You don’t have to wonder if you need to forgive and forget. You know that’s it’s an important piece to your healing process to release the debt.