There is no use in talking as if forgiveness were easy. We all know the old joke, “You’ve given up smoking once; I’ve given it up a dozen times.” In the same way I could say of a certain man, “Have I forgiven him for what he did that day? I’ve forgiven him more times than I can count.” For we find that the work of forgiveness has to be done over and over again. ~ C.S. Lewis
Forgive and forget.
How often have we been told that, taught that – heard it said, heard it sung? It seems that everyone says it, except God.
We’re told to forgive: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32) He doesn’t add, and forget it ever happened. There are so many things we have forgiven and forgotten. But there are some scars that remind us of things forgiven.
Remembering doesn’t mean not forgiving. Continuing to hold it against another does.
So often we struggle with forgiveness; either refusing to offer it or fearing we haven’t, because we can’t forget. We all know what it means to forget something. We do it all the time. Maybe the problem lies in knowing what it means to forgive something. Lewis Smedes says:
You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well.
God holds only Himself to the high standard of forgetfulness. For I will be merciful regarding their wrong deeds, and I will never again remember their sins. (Hebrews 8:12). He doesn’t tell us to forgive and forget. We added that ourselves. For we find that the work of forgiveness has to be done over and over again.
God doesn’t tell us to forgive and forget. He tells us to forgive and forgive.