Should We Forget as Well as Forgive?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by righteousdude2, Jun 2, 2011.

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How Often do You Forget What You Forgive?

  1. I forgive and forget as often as necessary.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. There is a limit, but it depends on the crime and person.

    2 vote(s)
    11.8%
  3. I forgive, but never forget.

    4 vote(s)
    23.5%
  4. Forgetting is something only God can do.

    8 vote(s)
    47.1%
  5. I'm only human, forgiving is hard enough.

    5 vote(s)
    29.4%
  6. I'll not be anyone's doormat!

    2 vote(s)
    11.8%
  7. To forgive is expected; to forget, is up to each individual.

    6 vote(s)
    35.3%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. righteousdude2

    righteousdude2
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    I ask this question because there are many times in our walk through this life where we are torn apart by someone, or many someone's, and while we may forgive, according to Scripture, is it always wise to forget from where the harm came from.

    An example is in a marriage. A woman finally gets tired of being beaten senseless, and nearly to death, by an abusive spouse. They also grow tired of being emotionally and mentally abused to the point where they have no self esteem left within them.

    After taking so much, and forgiving so much, they end the abuse through divorce. Regardless of what you feel about divorce, the question, here is not whether you are for or against divorce, BUT is it necessary for that abused spouse to forgive and forget? Alternatively, is it wise and prudent that they never forget from where they came in order to make a new, and better life for their self?

    Let's say (hypothetically) that someone near and dear to you continuously robbed you blind through unpaid loans. Do you reach the point in that relationship where you forgive them for their lack of responsibility, but decide never to loan them money again?

    Wouldn't it be part and parcel of forgiveness to forget the past deeds of that person, and let them continue to walk all over you by the name of forgiveness, or is right to forgive, but, never again turn your back on their behaviors?

    This has always been something that I've had tossed in my face by those who came to me and exhausted the excuse of forgiving them. If I forgave them, then they'd throw it in my face that I should also not be holding their past behaviors against them, I as proceeded cautiously, not forgetting the ways in which they continuously burned me in, in the past?

    I hope this gets some good feedback, as it is a dilemma for many believers. Do we forgive and continue to remain that persons doormat, or do we shake off the dust and move on down the path (Mark 6:11, and Luke 9:5)? Is Jesus telling His followers that there comes a time that we put that relationship behind us and move on? Alternatively, are those two verses a contradiction to the need to forgive?

    Shalom,

    Pastor Paul
     
  2. Salty

    Salty
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    Excellent question.
    In a nutshell, I would say - "forgetting" is a long process.
    Using your example, I loaned you $10,000. You do not pay, so I forgive the loan. Now, will I loan you 10 grand again (only if I am insane!). However, I may loan you $25, set certain condition - then later I will loan you $50, ect - than maybe after 10 years or so, of you building up your trust....
     
  3. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    We forgive the sin and choose to forget the offense caused. I don't think it is possible to forget then event.
     
  4. Jim1999

    Jim1999
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    Personally, I think it is unwise to forget the event, but like anger, if we don't get over being angry with someone, we are the one's who suffer.

    Example; we had a fellow who rented one of our houses. He never paid a penny's rent and it took 4 months to get him legally out of the house. He also did $9000.00 damage in that time. We forgave the 9,000. but sure didn,'t forget him.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  5. dcorbett

    dcorbett
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    Bitterness is a horrible thing. If you stay focused on the thing that hurt you, you will grow bitter and your testimony is ruined, because you cannot be bitter and be in God's will.

    Being bitter is about the worst condition a Christian can be in.

    Daddy used to say "pick yourself up and move on" and that is how I feel.
     
  6. Tom Bryant

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    I don't think forgetting is ever really possible for humans. If someone gets mad at me and cuts off my right arm. I can, and SHOULD, forgive him. But every time i try to play golf or even reach for my coffee cup, I am going to remember what happened.

    I ought to choose to forgive and refuse any kind of vengeance (either active measures or the passive aggressive kind) for the wrong done. But forgetting a completely different animal.
     
  7. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    So you forgive the miscrent so he can & will cut off someone elses arm. Nice sentiment though Lefty :smilewinkgrin:
     
  8. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    So you forgive the miscreant so he can & will cut off someone else's arm. Nice sentiment though Lefty :smilewinkgrin:
     
  9. revmwc

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    You can't forget until you forgive.
     
  10. Tom Bryant

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    If the person committed a crime, I would say that forgiving someone and allowing the courts and the law to run its course are 2 different things. My forgiveness doesn't impact the state's case. And their case doesn't impact my forgiveness.
     
  11. abcgrad94

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    I agree, and it's not "bitterness" to desire to see true justice served! Forgiving is simply letting go of my desire to retaliate--it has nothing to do with RESTORING the relationship. I think sometimes we confuse the two. You can forgive someone while choosing to protect yourself from being harmed further. In cases of crime (abuse, stealing money, etc.) it would be foolish to continually allow the person to get away with the behavior. We have a duty to protect our loved ones and make sure that justice is served where needed.
     
  12. righteousdude2

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    Keep It Coming!

    So far, there has been tremendous feedback, and I hope we get tons more.

    I don't believe that there is a wrong answer to this question.

    Pastor Paul :type:
     
  13. dcorbett

    dcorbett
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    I found this on the internet, and I think it is worth reading:

    Bitterness is a frozen form of latent anger and resentment. Bitterness grows out of our refusal, to let go when someone or something is taken from us. Bitterness is being constantly hurt by a memory and is holding onto a hurt until it has a hold on you.

    Bitterness is the unhealthiest emotion you can have. When you are offended or disappointed by others and allow the hurt to germinate in your heart, bitterness and resentment will take root. Bitterness is characterized by an unforgiving spirit and generally negative, critical attitudes. Bitterness and resentment are both sinful and self-defeating. Perhaps it grows from the literal loss of a loved one or of a job, or income, or relationship. Sometimes it might be more subtle and grow from the loss of a reputation, or social position in a group, or control. Whatever the cause, bitterness grows out of unreleased loss.
     
  14. DiamondLady

    DiamondLady
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    As someone who fits this example in real life let me tell you that although you may forgive that ex it is very difficult to forget. However, I can also say that after finding peace and happiness in my own life I have eventually forgotten most all of it. There are times I am reminded of it through topics like this, or when I meet another woman who is being abused, or has been abused by her husband, but for the most part, it is in the past.

    Forgiveness is a matter of choice. Forgetting is a matter of time and space from the situation. Bitterness is another choice, I believe brought on by a stubbornness of will and a refusal to let it go. My neighbor is a perfect example of this. He believes we did something a few years ago which we did not do. Instead of getting over it and moving on here we are years later and he still stands in his yard and screams and curses at us, calling us names and threatening our lives. (We have a restraining order against him and he knows enough to push the limits but doesn't cross them.) The point here is that he is eaten up by his own bitterness and I personally believe he has demons inside him, controlling him. For me, I like living a peacefilled life and give these things over to the Lord and let Him handle it from there.
     
  15. menageriekeeper

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    Can there be forgiveness without repentance?

    (just so you all have fair warning, my universalist tendancy is showing this morning)

    I'd say if repentance occured and forgiveness was asked for, forgetting should follow as far as it can. So if your sorry relative finally figured out that he/she owed you the money and came to you with an apology, a repayment plan and got the money repaid, forgetfulness should follow. You might not loan them money again, but you certainly shouldn't look at the forever as though they've done you some wrong.

    However, in the case of abuse, there can no forgetting. Abuse is an addiction to power and control. It is very easy for an abuser to fall back into those habits even after genuine repentance. (and I don't mean "oh honey, I didn't mean to hit you but you just made me so angry". that is not repentance!)

    My abusers have never apologized or repented for the abuse they heaped on my brother and I. (especially my brother) They still feel as though they were entitled to behave the way they did/do and they'll tell you so! We just "misunderstood" their motives. :rolleyes:

    Have I forgiven them? I'm not sure. I haven't let bitterness take root, but full forgiveness? I don't know. I have decided that God will sort us out eventually (probably not until heaven) and that has been a good place to dump the whole mess and leave it behind. I no longer dwell on the events of past and that is a major event in and of itself and one that I can only give God the credit for. It used to be that I would talk about my childhood and then be depressed and angry all over again for a week or more. And I no longer do that. Its unproductive.

    There will never be forgetfulness. My brother tried that route and my parents took quick advantage of it and started the same old routine with my neice and nephew, going so far once to tell my neice that my mother wan't her grandmother. They insist my neice "misunderstood" what mother had said. :rolleyes: mother has called both my husband and my sister in law "drug dealers" and worse because she can't stand that they have more influence over my and my brother's decisions than she has. One can't forget something that is ongoing and never repented of.
     
  16. Tom Bryant

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    Part of our problem is that we equate forgiveness with trust. Forgiveness is a gift, trust is earned.
     
  17. sag38

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    Because I can forgive but not forget I have the blessing to be able to forgive somethings over and over and over again. Every time I drive by a former employer's place of business I have to forgive the man. He did me very dirty and it all comes back whenever I go back home and drive by the place. Even now, I forgive him.
     
  18. dwmoeller1

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    The key principle would seem to be this:
    Forgive our trespasses in the same way we forgive other's trespasses.
    Which implies that we should forgive others in the same manner that Christ forgives us. Consider your offenses against God and how he forgives them and seek to do the same.

    So I guess the answer will depend on one's view of Gods forgiveness.
     
    #18 dwmoeller1, Jun 3, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2011
  19. Gina B

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    This is a topic I used to struggle with. I felt that true forgiveness entailed forgetting the sin and acting as if it never happened, then common sense kicked in. The scriptures don't tell us not to punish criminals. While they are forgiven spiritually by us, there is still the expectation that there are earthly consequences.

    Of course there are matters that CAN be forgiven and no consequences held. If someone does something to me personally that isn't against the laws of our nation and I feel as if they won't do it to others, then I have no reason but fear to continue holding them in different regard for what they have done, and that type of fear isn't good, healthy or spiritual.

    What if they do something and you're one victim of many in a line and they are setting up their next victim?

    While I may struggle to forgive, it's still my duty to hold them accountable in that I am obligated to warn others of their offense that may come in contact with them and advise them to protect themselves based on the offenders past history, lack of regret and high probability of committing the same errors against them.

    Which is difficult. It's easier to walk away and let others learn the lesson for themselves instead of feeling like a fool and facing their possible rejection of what you are warning them about, thus angering the original offender and possibly causing backlash.

    So forgetting? That's often just a cop out for not wanting to face the responsibility of protecting others. It may be emotionally justified and understandable not to do so. That doesn't make it right.

    Now if the person truly regrets what they did, they should have no problem with telling others about it and letting them come to their own decision on whether to trust them or not. If they're not willing to do that, it's pretty clear that they're not honestly sorry.

    One situation that is coming to me as I type this is that of a sex offender convicted of sod*** and other crimes against young males. He was court ordered to stay away from children, his MO was listed as "befriends families with children in order to gain access to them" but he convinced a couple that was a new man, a new believer and his past was far and behind him. They allowed him into the home and around children. When I found out the matter and confronted them, they defended their actions as being the epitome of Christian forgiveness. In their haste to self-defend, they refused to recognize that by refusing to follow the court order to stay within x amount of feet of children around the same age of those he victimized, he was showing CLEAR SIGNS that he wasn't honestly repentant. A truly repentant person would recognize his sin and fulfill his obligations to the authorities and the community by cooperating with the judge's orders.

    I also have a relative that became a jailhouse Christian. He got out of jail and...broke his probation and went right back. Claims of Christianity do not relieve a person of their earthly obligations and earthly obligations include accepting the punishment of the land you live in for the crime you committed and any restitution possible and needed. It does wipe the slate clean with Christ if it is a real transformation...but when they refuse to accept the earthly consequences, that's a big red flag that their conversion or repentance is false.
     
  20. Salty

    Salty
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    Gina, I think the above points you just made are excellent! :thumbs:
    I have a friend who had been in jail several years ago, and about a year ago committed another crime on a young child (not sure of the exact details) but he case dragged on for months and he ended up only serving about 30 days.
    My hard core politically Conservative wants to see the book thrown at offenders like that, but my Christian side wants to allow grace to be shown. Since I have moved, I do not see him as frequently as I did in the past - but my understand is that he is following all the courts orders - and is currently attending a SBC church (the pastor is the former chaplain at the county jail)
     

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