Forgive and Forget?

Forgiveness

Forgiveness.  The topic of this week’s Spin Cycle.  I have come to think of forgiveness as sort of a fluid, living, breathing entity.  I view it this way because it always seems to change depending on the thing that needs to be forgiven and the person doing the forgiving.  There are so many levels to forgiveness and forms of forgiveness.

Are you a forgiving person?  Do you forgive and forget?  Or do you forgive but hold a grudge?  If you don’t forget are you really forgiving?  Can you really forget when you’ve been wronged? I mean, how CAN you forget?  Do they mean forgive in the sense that you don’t dwell on it every time you see the person who wronged you?  I don’t think there is any way you could actually completely forget unless you have a complete lapse of memory.

Case in point, I have a “friend” who used to constantly down me and belittle me.  It bothered me a lot.  I forgave her but I have not forgotten or I
wouldn’t be telling you about it now, right?  But I have forgotten in the sense that I don’t dwell on it.  I don’t obsess over it and think about it all
the time.  I can still be around her and be friendly and civil because I forgave her.  Didn’t I?

Then there are the situations where people will say they will forgive someone’s  transgressions IF…. And then they have a list of stipulations that must be met in order for the forgiveness to come to fruition.  So I ask you, can it be considered  forgiveness if you have to hold the forgiveness ransom until the stipulations are met?  I’m not sure if true forgiveness can be conditional. Can there be conditional forgiveness?

I like to consider myself a forgiving person for the most part.  I do not forget.  I’m sorry. I’ve tried but I guess I’m not that good of a person.  And I think for the most part I have been able to forgive most people most transgressions against me other than one that I have not been able to force myself to.  I’ve tried but I guess I’m not that evolved yet.

I hope to someday be the kind of person that can forgive those things.  I recently read a book about a man who murdered two children because he was mentally ill. After a few hellish years the parents of the murdered girls met with and forgave the man who murdered their daughters.  I don’t know if I will ever be that evolved.  But I can hope.

How about you?  Are you a forgiving person?  How forgiving are you?

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About pegbur7

South of the Mason/Dixon Line
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18 Responses to Forgive and Forget?

  1. Nain says:

    Im a pretty forgiving person, but the forgetting part is tough. I think sometimes it is good to not forget the things that happen because at some point, you do have to look out for yourself and not get hurt over and over again. You know – fool me once, shame on you…fool me twice, shame on me?

  2. No, I would never be that evolved. I still can’t forgive the girl who snatched my crush away from me in high school! 🙂
    You’re linked!

  3. Lisa says:

    Forgiveness is such a tricky subject. We all want to be forgiven, but have a hard time forgiving others. Forgiveness is given to another more for me than the other person. Because, when it comes right down to it, if I can’t forgive someone, I can’t move forward. I don’t think it’s biblical to “forgive and forget.” I believe forgiving someone doesn’t absolve them of expectations or responsibility in the future. But, forgiveness should not be held hostage to performance. After all, God forgives me over and over and over and……

  4. CaJoh says:

    Perhaps the forgetting part is forgetting those feelings attached to the act itself, not so much forgetting that the act ever happened. I tend to be accepting as well as forgiving. I accept the fact that people sometimes do things that they do not mean to do. I do not think that others act the way they do to purposely do me harm. But even if they do, I will forgive them because they do what they do for many other reasons as well.

    Great Spin!

  5. Ron says:

    ” I view it this way because it always seems to change depending on the thing that needs to be forgiven and the person doing the forgiving. There are so many levels to forgiveness and forms of forgiveness.”

    I totally agree, Peg!

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said….

    “Then there are the situations where people will say they will forgive someone’s transgressions IF…. And then they have a list of stipulations that must be met in order for the forgiveness to come to fruition.”

    I honestly think there are ALWAYS stipulations on forgiveness. And if people were truly honest with themselves, they’d agree too. I mean how can you forgive someone without thinking, “I’ll forgive you, but you must do this, this, and this.”

    Me? I can forgive, but I won’t forget.

    Forgiving and forgetting are two different things. I will forgive to let go, but I won’t ever forget because quite honestly, I’d be a fool to forget.

    Excellent post, my friend!

    Have a super weekend!

    X

  6. cheryl lloyd says:

    well cuz what can I say other than I don’t have a problem with forgiving because I know the word says if you don’t forgive God won’t forgive you and try as I might I do try to forget but that dang memory as an elephant raises its ugly head and then I feel like what the heck happened I thought that was gone. at any rate I know it’s good to forgive and pray that in time my mind will totally be healed of the memories.

    • pegbur7 says:

      So true. And why the heck is it that I remember those things I should forget and things I should remember I can’t remember for crap!

  7. Kate says:

    This is a great question. I am actually going through some of this with my father, who I haven’t seen in 22 years (since I was 6 years old). He wants to meet and I am finally ready to do so. But this comes with stipulations. I have forgiven him so that it didn’t make my life horrible, but it has taken me decades AND I still have to choose that each day. I need to write him a letter telling him that if he wants to meet me, I don’t want him to say anything negative about my mother and (for now) my son is off the table. As I feel he didn’t live up to his job as father, I can ask these of him. He does have the right to say, no thanks, not worth it, not going to see you. But I feel that I have the right to ask for these things. So I don’t know…what do you think? Is this not true forgiveness? Do I have the right to make demands?

  8. I think forgiveness is about forgiving yourself, first. It is not something you give to someone else, but give to yourself. Forgiving yourself for the feelings you feel toward whomever, about whatever. Once we can get to the point of accepting that we feel anger, resentment, whatever… then forgive ourselves for feeling those feelings, then that which is seizing our emotional response is released (begins to release). The people and events are not forgotten, but they no longer influence our emotional reactions with the same intensity they did. We are free of the emotional anchor(s) associated with the person(s). We have forgiven ourselves, first. We have forgiven them by severing our emotional tether to them which was festering anger and resentment in us. Now, if necessary, we can verbally give forgiveness to another. After all, what can we truly give that we do not first possess? And for that matter, we are not really giving anything to the other person(s) but a declaration that we have chosen to do what we can to heal ourselves and move forward free of the anchor(s). We are not necessarily giving them a pardon. They may have done something very bad. But we have forgiven ourselves for the emotions we associated with the person(s). Forgiveness is something we must give to ourselves, first.

  9. terrepruitt says:

    I really like what you said, “think of forgiveness as sort of a fluid, living, breathing entity.” and the reason(s) that you gave. That is really great. I agree. Hadn’t thought of it that way, but I like that.

    And I agree with what CaJoh said, “Perhaps the forgetting part is forgetting those feelings attached to the act itself, not so much forgetting that the act ever happened.” Because I don’t understand how you can just FORGET something. Then as Nain said about the fooling.

    I know of people who have the attitude of “it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission”. With THAT attitude, I have a very difficult time forgiving them.

    Wow, I just read what James wrote and I have to digest that. Wow.

    First thing I thought of when I saw the title was glass door.

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