Forgiving and forgetting

Christian forgiving involves more than a grudging willingness to excuse another's wrongs.

"I Have forgiven, but I won't forget," said my friend as she summed up some long ago hurtful incident. It made me stop and think: is forgiving possible without also forgetting?

If we have been wronged by another, we may think our Christian duty will be performed if we are able to say, "I won't be angry with this person anymore; in fact, I can even love him; but I will always remember that he did this to me." We feel justified in making this judgment. Though in our own eyes we find the perpetrator guilty, we are willing to suspend the punishment.

Is this what true forgiveness is? One of the most striking aspects of Christ Jesus' teachings was his concept of forgiveness. Jesus presented an understanding of forgiveness that completely repudiated the old "eye for an eye" precept. He taught, "Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. ... Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."

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Forgiveness, then peace
May 3, 1993

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