It’s hard to forgive and forget. In many situations, it’s impossible. But just because you remember doesn’t mean you haven’t forgiven.
There is a person who did something to me a very long time ago. They hurt me in ways that they don’t even know. For many years those memories were buried in my mind, but within the last year and half, they’ve slowly come uncovered and I’ve had to deal with the side affects from what happened. That person has no idea that I am dealing with the aftermath of what they did.
If I don’t forgive them, it doesn’t hurt them. They don’t even know that I hold resentment and anger and bitterness in my heart. But if I choose to give my pain to God and ask Him to take away the anger and bitterness and help me love that person the way He does, and the way He wants me to, I can experience more of God’s peace than I can imagine.
Unforgiveness is a parasite that will eat away at your life, your love, and your happiness until you are no longer yourself but a festering pool of anger that pleases no one but Satan. You cannot withhold forgiveness from someone and be right with God. It is impossible.
People hurt other people. Good people hurt other good people. You have hurt people in the past that you might not even be aware of. There is sin and ugliness and immorality in this world in abundance. You will get hurt by people you love, people who are close to you. It is inevitable.
Sometimes people hurt you so bad that there is no way in the world you could ever forget what they did. Their actions toward you affect your thoughts every day. Not one day goes by that my thoughts are not affected by what that person did to me. I might not think of the actual act against me, but that experience is in my mind and I can’t do normal, every day things without having a thought that is twisted, corrupted, shadowed, or changed by what happened to me.
But that doesn’t mean I haven’t forgiven that person. When these memories started to rise I never struggled with unforgiveness. I never held resentment and bitterness in my heart. But I had fear. I cannot go one day, one hour without having those fears look at me and demand a reaction. They are a part of me now. I will never not have them haunting me. I can’t forget.
But I forgave. When I was unsure of whether I had forgiven that person or not, I brought it to God and poured my heart out to him. I asked Him to take away any anger or bitterness I might have toward that person and help me to forgive them and not let that hurt eat my life. I gave Him my fear. Every day I ask God to take away my spirit of fear and give me power and love and a sound mine(ll Timothy 1:7). I ask Him to help me to not fear man but to put my trust in God(Proverbs 29:25).
I cannot forgive and forget. But I can forgive and learn to live with the hurt and pain that has happened to me. I can give my damaged heart to God and ask Him to protect it and keep it safe. Every time my fears try to rise I can put them in His hands and ask Him to take them away and help me to trust Him. I accept what has happened to me. I accept that God allowed it. I know that He has a plan for it all and if I but give it all to Him, He’ll allow the good to come out of it that He planned all along.
Don’t be angry at God either. Yes, He is a loving God but He allows things to happen in our lives to help us grow and mature in Him. If nothing bad every happened, we wouldn’t learn to trust and lean on Him. We wouldn’t need to learn how to forgive and hand Him our pride, resentment, and anger.
Unforgiveness only hurts you and your relationship with God. You will never know the peace of God if you hold onto your feelings and your pain. If you want to be happy, let it go, let God heal your heart, and forgive the person who has hurt you.
The pain will always be there. Every morning when you get up, it’ll be there in your heart. You can’t forget it. But you can learn to live through it, live past it, and let God use it in your life to help and minster to others and draw you closer to Him.