Forgiveness was never easy for me and for a long time, I didn’t want to forgive certain people. I felt a sense of entitlement. “I’ll forgive them, but I will never forget!” or “If they don’t have the decency to apologize, how can I forgive them?” are the mottos that I lived by. I never knew how detrimental that was to my life until I began soul searching and looking for a sense a self.
I had lost the me I wanted to be in my inability to forget.
He cheated on me. She told my secrets. He lied on my name. She slept with my man. Those are all situations in which we feel we need an explanation and an understanding as to “why” the person did what they did…
You see, people do you wrong all the time – they are human. It’s in our chemistry. We will never be perfect. But we are under this notion that although we aren’t perfect, the person dealing with us has to be and when we find fault in him or her, that’s when we have to make sure they never forget how they treated us.
And sometimes, even after apologies are made (whether genuine or not) we still question the motives of the person who did the wrong. What you don’t understand is although you may have forgiven that person, constantly reliving those moments in the wrong by not forgetting leave you enslaved to that person’s wrong doings. You are a prisoner of your own mind, lacking the freedom to do everything that you want to do in life because you won’t forget.
How can one be genuine to another with a memory of hurt lodged in the back in their mind? It’s impossible. Let’s use this example: you experienced hurt in a previous relationship. You “forgave” the person, but in coming into a new relationship, you are unable to trust and love that person whole heartedly. You are still holding on to the thoughts of “what if he/she treats me like the last person?” and in turn, through all of your insecurities and past hurt, forfeit on the new relationship and miss out on what could have been a good thing. You will never know because you never let go.
Now what if God forgave us but didn’t forget? Do you think His mercies would be everlasting? Do you think His grace would fall so freely?
True forgiveness comes with the ability to forget, but always remember the lesson YOU learned from it. Maybe in dealing with that situation, you learned how to be patient, or vocal, or even courageous. Those are the lessons we never want to forget. They will build and help mold us into the loving individuals we aspire to be, and not the hateful, vindictive individuals we can do without.
So, the next person that does you wrong, forgive them and give them a clean slate. Wouldn’t you want them to do the same for you?
“The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest.” – Unknown