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.