Does Forgiving Mean Forgetting?

July 24 | By Phil Waldrep

One of the responsibilities every preacher has is to correct false teaching.


There are some utterances that sound good but aren’t Biblical and, in some cases, aren’t realistic either.


Let me give you an example: in my early days of preaching, I often heard people say “forgiveness and forgetting are the same thing.”


And some added, “if you really forgive, then you will never remember what happened.”


Quite frankly, that is ridiculous.


And here is another one: “if you forgive someone, then you will act like nothing ever happened.”


That, too, is absurd. 


For example, the Lord never intends for someone who is physically abused to “act like nothing happened” and allow themselves to be abused again.


So, let me help you understand forgiveness.


Forgiveness occurs when you give up your right to hurt someone for hurting you.


Forgiveness is a decision – not an emotion.


You may not feel like forgiving, but you refuse to get even if you could.


To put it another way, forgiveness occurs when you stop keeping score.


Wasn’t that Peter’s problem?


When Jesus talked about forgiveness Peter wondered how many times did he have to do it – and even suggested a generous amount, seven times.


But Jesus responded that we should forgive seventy times seven.


Jesus basically was telling Peter that “forgiveness doesn’t keep score, by counting the times a person is hurt or the number of times a person forgave.”


And let me encourage you – when you forgive another person, you take away their power – their power to keep you in an emotional prison.


You see, forgiveness frees you – not from the memory but from the grip it has on your life.


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