I heard this statement during a conversation with a family member after hearing a sermon on forgiveness. My pastor spoke on its true meaning and stated that in order to be forgiven for our sins, we must forgive the sins of others. The concept is simple enough, but the action proves to be one of the most difficult tasks faced in a relationship.
Disappointment and heartache encountered in relationships are often the direct result of another persons actions. An unfaithful partner, a scheming friend, an absent parent, or a disrespectful child can test our patience and willingness to forgive. When we are betrayed, the event lingers in our minds and can appear in random thoughts. We may even dream about the incident and how we could, would, or should have reacted. Our spirits are scarred. On those occasions that we are able to forgive, the above mantra rings true..."I can forgive, but I won't forget."
Forgiveness is necessary when we are wronged and is the basis for maintaining authentic relationships. To truly forgive, we must also forget. In order for healing to occur, the event and any negative feelings about the offender should be free from our thoughts. True forgiveness is not meant for the offender, but for the offended. Therefore, forgetting is a key step in the pathway to forgiveness.
In order to forget, we must understand the true meaning of forgiveness.
Forgiveness of others IS NOT:
- An acceptance of the behavior
- A license to be offended again
- A sign of weakness
Forgiveness of others IS:
- An expression of self-love
- A necessary step toward healing
- The only way YOU will be forgiven in the future
Try forgiving and forgetting those who offend(ed) you. Most likely they have moved on and don't remember or care what they did. Shouldn't you enjoy the same freedom?