Forgive and don't forget

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    Forgive and not forget

    On my journey to becoming a content, mindful happy person, I discovered a key to part of this is forgiving and moving forward. I understand something about myself that I however am not able to forget. So how do you forgive and move on with the past always being a reminder. So my mil said she forgives but never forgets and she will never let the person who hurt her forget what they have done, she said she will always remind them over and over what they did to her. I was puzzled by this because to me it contradicts the meaning of forgiveness. If I have forgiven someone it serves me no purpose to constantly bring to their attention the hurt they caused just to hurt them in return or make them feel bad. I feel like I would be putting myself back in the situation as when the hurt occurred, and I would remind myself over and over of the pain, and would I really be forgiving if I did that? What are your thoughts on forgiveness



    Dear Learning:

    When your mil says she forgives but then reminds the person of what they did to her, then she does not forgive. So, when she says: “I forgive”- it is not a true statement for her. When a person forgives another, or at least intends to forgive, then the person does not bring it up to the past offender any longer.




    Forgiveness is an Art and takes skill to practice sadly for many forgiveness has become a platitude.

    Forgiveness is not forgetting it’s a letting go. What do we let go of? for one thing we let go of our call for revenge which only bound us more firmly to the ones who hurt us. Letting go of vengeance is often mistaken as meaning a letting go of responsibility, accountability and consequence. But that is a mistake. We can hold people accountable without resorting to vengeance and doing so open the door to forgive them.

    The problem with revenge is that it never evens the score. It ties both the injured and the injurer to an escalator of pain. Both are stuck on the escalator as long as parity is demanded, and the escalator never stops. Lewis B. Smedes

    I found L.B. Smedes book – The Art of Forgiveness –- and Forgive and Forget – to be some of better books that deal with this concept. Note that Smedes concept of Forgetting is not about forgetting the event but changing the way in which we relive the memory of the experienced.

    Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.

    Once we have forgiven, however, we get a new freedom to forget. This time forgetting is a sign of health; it is not a trick to avoid spiritual surgery. We can forget because we have been healed. But even if it is easier to forget after we forgive, we should not make forgetting a test of our forgiving. The test of forgiving lies with healing the lingering pain of the past, not with forgetting the past has ever happened.

    I worry about fast forgivers. They tend to forgive quickly in order to avoid their pain. Or they forgive fast in order to get an advantage over the people they forgive. And their instant forgiving only makes things worse… People who have been wronged badly and wounded deeply should give themselves time and space before they forgive… There is a right moment to forgive. We cannot predict it in advance; we can only get ourselves ready for it when it arrives… Don’t do it quickly, but don’t wait too long.
    Lewis B. Smedes


    jon kirkham

    Sometimes some people remind others of the pain they inflict because they don’t want them to repeat. Remembering we hurt another individual does sometimes help us remember how we caused and can stop us from repeating. But i do agree that forgiveness does not really involve doing that habit.

    Maybe that person is just hurt inside and doesn’t truly forgive the other person who caused it. Sounds like they might need to work on forgiveness and the whole broader side of it, rather than it just being a word



    Hi there guys,

    This is reminiscent of how I have felt for 5 years against my child’s mother. She hurt my badly and did things that can never be undone. It’s the tread I just commented on before this one.

    Like the original poster said about their MIL, I too have always reminded my ex of what she did and how much I was affected by it. I have of course promised many times that I will never bring it up again, only to eventually kick it up again at some point.

    It’s like I want her to always feel bad for what she did, and never be able to forget it. Because I’ll never forget it and will always feel hurt I don’t want her to get off with not feeling bad about that.

    Things have got better and I’m not as angry no more, but it’s still there deep inside.

    I know it seems insane to keep bringing it up to the injurer every now and again, but the reason we do it is because we are hurting, that we need to try and hurt them too even if it is just emotionally.

    Which is not as bad as what some alternatives could be.

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