Let's imagine we're the soldiers in one of the caves of En Gedi with David and Saul. Why didn't he harm Saul? Do you think David forgave Saul? How about the evils Saul had done against David? Had he forgotten them already? In popular culture and over the years I have heard people around me say, “I can forgive, but I cannot forget.”
This begs the question, when we forgive someone, should we also forget what they have done? Do you think David should've forgotten the royal malfeasance? In the Bible, Ephesians 4:31-32 (NKJV) reads, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” These words: bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, and malice are intense, negative words, and if remembering what a forgiven person has done evokes or elicits any of these negative emotions and actions in us, I suggest forgetting. However, this quote I found online says it better, “Forgiveness is not about forgetting. Forgiveness is about remembering without the pain.”
Gertrude, a blog writer at Mywindowsill.com shares, “Remembering without pain is one of the best guarantees that healing and forgiveness is complete.” If you have forgiven someone, but are still struggling with forgetting, ask God to show you how you can remember without the pain. Also, may I make a suggestion? Try to remember the lessons that God has taught you as a result of what happened with this person and how it has impacted your life in a positive way.
Forgiving and forgetting is made possible when we trust in the goodness of God--One who is not only loving and merciful but faithful and just to all. As we believe in the goodness of God, we will be able to speak like David: "May Yahweh judge between me and you, and may Yahweh avenge me on you, but my hand will not be against you!" (1 Samuel 24: 12 LEB)
Written & Edited by
Covered & Kept Ministries Board & Team