Sunday, September 8, 2013

Forgive and Forget

The question is asked so often.

How do we forgive and forget?
This is the most overused and misunderstood religious and non-religious statement used on victims.
It is not even biblical.
Jesus Himself acknowledges the challenge of forgiving.

“Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”                                              
                                                                                                             Mark 2:7-11 NLT
There are no scriptures to even support forgetting.
This phrase "Forgive and forget" sounds great (Or does it?) but, it lacks acknowledging the human aspect that makes forgetting, impossible.

 I have gone back and forth with this battle of forgiving and forgetting. 
The truth, I don't think it is healthy for me to forget in the way people want me too.
I cannot forget the abuse, the rapes, the nightmares, the depression and so on.
Even if I COULD forget it... and believe me I want too, I wouldn't. Knowing what happened, remembering it all, drives me. Sometimes it drives me crazy but, mostly it drives me to be proactive for and with other survivors.  
The only time "forgetting" is referenced in regard to anything like forgiveness (and it's not at all referencing forgiveness btw) is when Paul speaks in Philippians. 

12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[a] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
                                                                                                     Philippians 3:12-16

I do not think Paul is speaking about "Forgive and Forget" I believe he is talking about so much more.
He is forgetting life as he knew it before Christ. He is forgetting things that have tried to hold him down or back. He is not making a fool of himself and forgetting the abuses he endured at the hands of men. He is forgetting any anger etc. he had about it. He is forgetting any forgiveness he withheld from it. That is my personal opinion but, go read it for yourself. Paul admits he has not achieved perfection or arrived. Rather he speaks about shifting his focus to the future and pressing on. He is not speaking about forgive and forget, just his life in general.
It is a misconception that forgiveness is a "ONE AND DONE" deal. It is a process, like healing. It is for YOU not the one you're forgiving. Forgiveness is for everyone... from God, through Jesus yes, even abusers. Is it my job as a Christian to forgive my abusers? No.
It's between God and them if they get forgiveness or not.
I choose instead to focus on my forgiveness with God.
I do not let the momentarily satisfying thoughts of revenge and anger control me or keep me from my forgiveness from God. Instead I trust He keeps me and will continue to do so.
Forgetting is not what it seems. I do not believe it means to forget the transgression against you. I do believe it means to forget the anger and misery that tries to own you. Forget, means to cause your abuser, attacker, monster, nightmare etc.... to lose power over you with the damage they inflicted on you. I believe it means to forget life as you knew it as a victim. I believe it is important to forgive yes, but I won't forget the scars or deeds.
I will however process my anger through forgiveness and forget it.

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