Forgiving and Forgetting isn’t as easy as 1-2-3. With that said is Forgiving and Forgetting really possible? Maybe we should dig a little deeper on this subject.
For starters in Matthew 6 : 14 -15 the Bible says:
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
What is Forgiveness? According to Wikipedia, it’s described as “the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.”
Did you catch that last part? The part about wishing the offender well? I know that caught me off guard as well. However, this is exactly what the Bible teaches us.
Should You Forgive Someone Who Hurt You
If you’ve been hurt, like I have, it might feel ridiculous to think about forgiving someone who hurt you. I know this to be true all too well.
However, there are important reasons why forgiving can actually help you. The phrase “forgive and forget” may come off as cliché and might be easily disposed by someone who has been violated. Again, I know this all too well.
There are valuable reasons why you should consider forgiveness as one of the options related to your anger, sadness, or other emotions tied to your situation. So, should you Forgive someone who hurt you?
The answer is YES! You absolutely should.
Even if I weren’t a Christian I truly believe I would feel the same way. Yes the Bible says to Forgive but the Bible also says to Forget.
Believe it or not Forgiving is a lot easier than Forgetting. This is also something I know a little too well.
Why Should You Forgive Someone Who Hurt You?
Besides the fact that the Bible tells us to below are some reasons that I think everyone can agree with.
a. Emotions Will Control You
As long as you carry the emotions tied to your situation, they will remain unresolved. Feeling angry, bitter, sad, or any other negative emotion comes from the space that wants justice and vindication.
This can make a mountain out of a molehill and rob you of the happiness that coexists with your pain.
Letting go of the blame and need for vindication makes it possible to move through the situation and on with your life.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Physical Illness: Your bitterness or pain can morph into real physical illness, taking even more from you than has already been taken.
Not resolving the problem can lead to high blood pressure, anxiety, and more.
Not Forgiving can and will take a physical toll on your body.
b. Forgiving can restore what has been lost
The benefits of forgiving and forgetting are emotional, physical, and practical. Walking around with chronic anger and resentment can bleed over into all areas of your life.
Move through your negative emotions and into healthier boundaries, and grace.
Don’t let the pain linger and the resentment grow. Or else and the damage will take on a life of its own.
In times where the issues at hand are too grave and too big to resolve, forgiveness can still make it possible to stop the guilt or other emotions you are experiencing. If restoration may not be wise, letting go of what is eating you up is worth the effort.
Is Forgiving and Forgetting Really Possible?
You may have agreed theoretically that forgiving and forgetting is possible, but is it really? Absolutely – with time, patience, and grace. Having a forgiving heart may not be a natural state of being but it can become part of your habits.
Forgiving is something we have to choose to do. It is not something that comes natural.
In my eyes and I believe in the Lord’s eyes it takes a bigger person to Forgive. Again Forgiving is something we do on purpose, not on accident.
Before we look at how to forgive, let’s look at why people don’t forgive:
It feels unfair- It feels unfair to forgive someone who seemingly might be getting away with doing a very bad thing.
It doesn’t match up with the idea of justice.
It feels like the offender is going to go without truly understanding the impact their actions have on you and others.
It feels good- Let’s be honest, holding a grudge and being hostile can feel good.
It feels good to be the center of other people’s sympathies and caring inquiries.
And although we will never admit to it, sometimes there is a weird celebrity to being a victim.
So, is forgiving and forgetting really possible?
If you are ready to let go of the weight that comes from staying stuck in the unfairness and victim-hood, it is entirely possible to forgive. You just have to make the choice to do so.
To be able to Forgive big things you first have to be able to Forgive small things. Practicing the art of forgiveness in everyday life makes it easier to draw on those experiences when you need to forgive the bigger offenses.
People who have an easier time forgiving others have a few things in common:
- They see life as lessons and everyone makes mistakes
- They see the good in people
- They understand that they can choose to be offended or not
- The don’t sweat the small stuff
- They don’t expect perfection
- They are not highly sensitive people
People who find it easy to forgive have a corner on the happiness market because they use their underlying morals and values as a way to move through the day thinking about the bigger picture.
Here are some ways to offer forgiveness and adopt an emotionally more mature mindset each day:
Forgive poor service- when treated poorly, try and remember that maybe something bad happened to that person earlier in the day. We never know truly know what someone else is going through.
Instead do you best to smile and show that you care. A smile even when someone is being hateful can make a world of difference.
Forgive rude gestures- If someone cuts you off in traffic, takes your parking space, or gives you a smug look – forgive them and move on.
Don’t take things personally. The sooner you can let it go, the sooner you can replace the adrenaline rush of anger with a better-suited emotion for your day.
Forgive mistakes- Mistakes happen as a fact of life. We all make them.
Forgive mistakes quickly and appreciate any gestures made to put things right.
Learning to let go of the righteous anger or sadness that comes from being offended does yourself a world of good. Being able to Forgive and Forget the little irritations is perfect practice for moving on from big hurts and let downs.
Asking For Forgiveness When You’ve Made a Mistake
It’s pretty easy to stand behind your own anger and offense when someone has hurt you. But what about when you hurt someone else?
It isn’t always as easy to be the one who needs to be forgiven. When we’ve made a mistake, many things come into play – anger, shame, defensiveness.
These things can really make it hard to ask for or receive forgiveness. If we subconsciously haven’t been very forgiving ourselves, it can be even harder to think we have any forgiveness coming or that others will be willing to forgive us.
One of the keys to receiving forgiveness is to practice it. Forgiving people are better able to understand that mistakes happen, missteps happen, and sometimes we step in it metaphorically.
By offering forgiveness regularly, they see that it is possible to do something regrettable and be absolved.
No matter where you’ve been on the forgiveness scale, you can ask for and receive forgiveness if you have done something offensive. Consider these tips as you go:
Tip #1. Be Sincere with an Apology- Forgiveness comes best following an apology.
Tip #2. Be willing to hear the impact you made and don’t let pride or defensiveness diminish the feelings of the other person.
Tip #3. Be Willing to Not be Forgiven- Asking for forgiveness is a question, not a command. That means hearing “no” has to be one of the options.
It is entirely possible that the person you hurt is unwilling or unable to move on now or yet. Sometimes people don’t have the maturity to forgive and sometimes they need time to build up grace. So, be patient.
Asking for forgiveness is a mature and humbling experience. It is a deep move of your desire to be absolved and also honor the person you offended.
Even if you are not Forgiven you know in your heart that you did your best. You asked for Forgiveness and that alone takes a humble heart.
Be patient they will come around. And if they don’t they are actually the one losing out by not letting go.
My Own Confessions About Forgiving and Forgetting
Where do I start?
When I was younger my mom often dated men that would beat her a couple of times nearly to death. It was a horrible thing to witness as a young child.
As I grew older and began to date myself I promised myself I would never ever allow a man to put his hands on me. I stuck by that promise.
Related Post: Letting Go Of Anger When You Feel Defeated
However, the hate I had in my heart towards the men from my childhood reflected in my relationships as I got older and my relationships became more serious.
I pushed some really great guys away and dated some losers instead. I didn’t know it at the time but it was easier for me to break it off with a loser than it was with someone who was worth holding onto. Hence why I pushed all the good ones away very early.
Because I couldn’t forgive and forget I silently grew a lot of hate in my heart towards all men. I vowed to never need a man and do all things on my own.
When I finally realized I needed to let go and forgive and forget my relationship with men changed. Even though I didn’t date anyone for a while I eventually met my husband who I adore and adores me.
The relationship we have is exactly what I have wanted for so long but always pushed away. Now just because I was able to forgive those men who beat my mom doesn’t mean I have forgotten.
Forgetting is much harder than forgiving. Forgiving is a choice that we make. Forgetting that is something else. Here is a good article on Forgiveness Doesn’t Mean Forgetting.