Remember To Forget


Remember to Forget

I believe remembering and forgiveness have a powerful relationship. The relationship has power to bring paralysis and pain or resolution and healing. We humans have a terrible struggle with what and how we remember. Why? We struggle because we do our level best to remember every single wrong done to us so we won’t be hurt or angered ever again.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]I’m not so sure we can forgive as God wants us to forgive if we don’t forget.[/pullquote]Over the last few years I’ve been the giver and receiver of the pain that comes from remembering and not forgetting…remembering that leads to not forgiving. I’m sad to say I’ve mastered this reality so much so I’ve built an enormous moat around my metaphorical castle. It’s a moat that can’t be crossed by me or others. There’s no coming in and there’s no going out.

The loss of relationships has been the most painful aspect of remembering and not forgiving. We Christians say we have to forgive, but we don’t have to forget. I beg to differ. I’m not so sure we can forgive as God wants us to forgive if we don’t forget. Remembering all the wrongs, hurts, and anger and saying we’ve forgiven, but not forgotten, keeps us from experiencing authentic restoration and healing in our relationships with others.

I can’t help but think of the overarching point the writer of Hebrews makes throughout the letter. The point: Remember the better way, the superior way of Christ; forget and don’t turn back to the ways of old. Chapters 8 and 10 make reference to Jeremiah 31, specifically verse 34:

No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.

“For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”

Followers of Christ are expected to do the same. How do I know this? I know this because I know Jesus and his words are in my head and heart. Read his teaching on prayer in Matthew 6, the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18, and his teaching on loving your enemies in Luke 6.

I must do everything I possibly can to remember God’s words that teach me to remember their sins no more. I mourn the losses. I’m mindful of the circumstances that caused the hurts. I strive to change and not repeat the same mistakes. And, I pray I always offer the forgiveness I’ve been given.

I’m learning to remember to forget.


Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Terri Stone
Latest posts by Terri Stone (see all)


  1. Diane on June 16, 2016 at 7:40 AM

    No dry eyes here, my friend. I know the pain of both as well…love your transparency in a difficult personal reckoning. Praying for you, and for us.

    • Terri Stone on June 21, 2016 at 5:39 PM

      Don’t we know this all to well. I’m in prayer pretty much every single day about this one.

  2. Gretchen on June 16, 2016 at 9:04 AM

    Beautifully written, Terri. I was just speaking to my friend about this kind of thing, yesterday about a family member of mine who disappoints me repeatedly. When we’re in relationship with someone–especially with someone in our family–we develop expectations (I’d venture to say) whether we think we will or not. So, I was complaining to my friend that I feel foolish because I KNOW to hold any expectation loosely w/this individual in my head. And I do my best simply to love. My heart says, “Maybe this person has learned, changed. Even a little.” I mentioned that I felt foolish for opening myself up again (and again).

    But my friend said, “That’s actually a good thing. It means you remain hopeful. It’s part of what makes you who you are.”

    All that to say my heart amnesia is painful, & the world might deem it stupid; but when I see how daily I grieve my Savior, I am glad for it. And hope it lasts.

    • Terri Stone on June 21, 2016 at 5:37 PM

      Gretchen, thanks for sharing your personal story. I always appreciate your encouragement.

  3. Tara on June 17, 2016 at 4:59 PM

    This hit home with me for sure. I have two very complicated family relationships I’m working on.
    Both of whom I’ve forgiven, yet that now seems like the easy part as I walk with them in the post-forgiveness journey. Trying to forget and stay present and future focused yet their words and actions stir open old wounds. That’s where grace comes in and some days my grace-o-meter seems to run out. Yet every time I pray to God he replenishes it.
    Have you ever read the book Stitches by Anne Lamott? It healed my wounded soul. Praying for you Terri.

    • Diane on June 20, 2016 at 7:11 AM

      The post-forgiveness journey. I always hoped that once I got the unforgiveness out of my heart that all would be eazy-peazy. It often feels just as hard on this journey. Thx for reminding me to reset the grace-o-meter every day!!

    • Terri Stone on June 21, 2016 at 5:42 PM

      Thanks, Tara, for the book recommendation. I’ve not read it. Traveling Mercies was a tough read for me years ago, but I think I’ll give this one a try. Glad we’re traveling this one together.

  4. Jen on June 21, 2016 at 11:17 PM

    Forgetting is so very, very hard. But when we don’t forget we rehash the mess, even when we think we’ve forgiven. *sigh* And I never thought of it in the context of God’s forgetting our sin. Thanks for the new perspective!

  5. Diane Tarantini on July 4, 2016 at 1:52 PM

    My goodness, the discussion down here is as good as Terri’s post was up above. Man, it seems like a whole bunch of us are dealing with difficult relationships. One verse I have to frequently review is the one in Corinthians with regards to love. “Love keeps no record of wrong.” I think a lot of times, it’s the enemy stirring us up, trying to get us to return to unforgiveness. “Remember when she…” and “Remember the time he….” One of the things that broke through my “heart amnesia,” golly, that is an excellent term, was a message by Tim Keller. When he reviewed the “Golden Rule,” it was as though I heard it with new ears. “The Golden Rule means you do for another exactly what you would want done to you.” That was sort of his paraphrase. And I thought, “Would I want everyone to despise me and walk away from me, or would I want them to try to help me?” Guess which one I picked?

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.