Why I'm here....

Since I've always been quick with an opinion an old friend once lost and again found suggested that perhaps I should share with more people my commentary. Never being one to pass on a challenge I thought I'd give it a whirl.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Forgetting and Forgiving Are Two Different Things

The Webster’s dictionary definition of forget and forgive:

Forget – to disregard intentionally (overlook) or to lose the remembrance of or be unable to recall the incident.

Forgive - to give up resentment of or claim to requital for or to cease to feel resentment against.

If there is one life lesson I have learned over and over it is that it is easier to forgive someone than to forget what they’ve done. That in itself is probably responsible for many sayings. One that comes to mind is to not burn your bridges. I mean even if someone forgives you, if they can’t forget they may not keep you in their good graces. I suppose I am one who finds it easy to forgive for most things. Eventually I probably could forgive about anything. There is one person I will never forgive, but then seeing as how that person is no longer among the living I suppose it doesn’t matter if I forgive them or not. I think it’s an important life lesson that many should be taught early on. It would save a lot of heartache and grief down the road. We’ve all known people who’ve lied to us in some major form. I am not talking the little white lies that sometimes make you shake your head and wonder why someone would bother, but I am talking the big ones. Once that person has lied no matter if we forgive them or not we truly never really trust them again. It’s just part of human nature I believe. It’s also one reason relationships revisited seldom work. Whatever reason the relationship didn’t work in the first place is always going to be close at hand in the person’s memory. They can forgive and move on even, but forgetting is something unless you lose your memory completely or have Alzheimer’s that just doesn’t happen. Life often will hold on to mistakes we made when we were adolescents and make us pay for them in some small way continually was we mature. Thinking of this brings up another saying that comes to mind about a leopard not being able to change its spots. I believe that to be true for the most part; however, I do believe occasionally people learn from their mistakes and would never repeat them. I personally know from my own experience I am nothing like the girl and woman that was around until my mid to late twenties. I’ve learned to play honestly with my words especially to those I care about. I have learned to watch my step somewhat. I am still very outspoken and opinionated, but there are things that would have driven me to complete insanity when I was younger that I just try to tell myself is human nature and not personal and move on with. So almost everything and everyone who’s wronged me in my past I have forgiven. I would be remiss to try to say that I had forgotten anything though. I remember pain as much as anyone else. I remember good times, laughs and even sadness and disappointment. It’s what keeps me at arms lengths with some people. One person in particular who has been trying ever so hard to get back in my good graces would be wise to give up. If he’s reading this the plain and simple truth is I loved you and I could have forever, but I could never trust you again. Perhaps I am a little snobbish in saying this, but I believe I deserve better than I was dealt at this parties hands. Either way it doesn’t matter. What we do in life will always be remembered by someone. I recently met someone again that I had known years ago. I really wouldn’t have thought I impacted that person at all as I rarely spoke to them or seen them. Yet they were telling me about one conversation I had with them that helped them to move on from a relationship that would have only gotten worse and how they had met the love of their life to which they are still married only a few months later. As human beings I think we need to think more of how what we do and say is affecting everyone around us. We owe it to ourselves and to them. The simple truth of the matter is that when it comes right down to it, it isn’t that hard to forgive someone. Forgiving doesn’t mean erasing the issue though. It doesn’t mean healing the wound or taking the person back. It simply means we don’t sit and fester and mourn over things that might have been and could have been. We can often forgive, but for reasons known only as life, we rarely forget.


ida said...

even if someone has passed on we should still forgive them. its not really for them it for us. i think it helps clean our spirit. and its true we will never forget. we just have to learn not to think of it. though i have seemed to forgotten most of my childhood. perhaps that was a blessing.

Sheila said...

That is solid advise Ida, but trust me when I say I will never forgive them nor would you if you were me.

Carol said...

We all know what the word "forget" means but in the case of "forgive and forget," it cannot be applied the same way because like you said, "forgetting" cannot be done.

Forgiving means to no longer hold someone accountable for something. And to "forget" means to never bring it up at a later date. It's not actually stripped from your memory, but if you're in a heated battle with someone and you bring up an incident they did years ago, then obviously you have not truly forgiven them because you recalled it (remembered it and did not forget) and brought it up again.

Our memories are a good thing. They help protect us and warn us of danger. Our memory helps us to reason and to learn from the past. It would actually be a bad thing to forget something even if the memory itself was bad.

As far as never forgiving someone for what they've done: Let me ask you this...have you ever done something that you were sorry for and asked someone else for forgiveness? You might say that what this person did was a lot worse than what you did and I'm sure you would be right. But from a biblical perspective, sin is sin. All transgression, no matter how large or small, is still sin. And if you don't forgive people now, then the Lord will not have mercy on you and forgive your sins.

You might say that I don't know you or what you're talking about because what this person did was really really bad and you would be right. But I do know what it's like to be wronged, to be abused in every possible way. To grow up like this with no one to turn to because no one would listen to a little girl. I know the feeling of hopelessness, helplessness, anger and rage. I've seen the results of these things in my adult life and it wasn't pretty. I was unable and unwilling to forgive this person because this person was pure evil, he hated me, and I lived with him so there was no escape.

But....only through Christ was I able to truly, truly forgive him. It was the Lord's strength and power that softened my stony heart, that took this bitterness and rage out of me so that I could live a somewhat normal life again. If He didn't do this, I know that I would have been dead or in jail.

My point is harboring ill feelings for someone does no one any good, especially you. You might not be in a rage all the time like I was but deep down inside burns a small incinerator for that person. And I don't have to know you to know this because I know how anger, rage, and sin works. I've been there. And as long as you harbor those feelings, you are a slave to them and the person that wronged you. That person wins in the end. That person may not even give you a second thought nowadays and here you are still suffering.

Like I said, the only way I was ever able to come to grips with a lifetime of abuse is seeking the Lord. Thoughts?

Sheila said...

I have a personal relationship with the Lord Carol and I know all about making mistakes and abuse. The man I can't seem to forgive I am not really even angry at anymore and he's dead so like I said it really makes no difference, but I did lose myself because of him for more than a decade. That takes some time to heal from. I'm working on it. Some day maybe you'll know the whole story, but for now I appreciate your comments and I understand them.

Carol said...

Wishing you well Sheila. :)