‘Forgive and forget’- that phrase most likely has been part of our vocabulary since childhood, when our parents imprinted that instruction in our minds as the proper response to our conflict with another child. Actually, notes Dr. David Stoops (Forgiving the Unforgivable), that adage has been around approximately 700 years, since the 14th century. Jeremiah 31:34 also comes to mind- “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
So, we ask, if God can forgive and forget, why doesn’t that work for us? Dr. Stoops gives a very basic answer. God, being omnipotent, doesn’t need to learn anything in the process. But we are another story altogether.
Dr. Stoops explains: “We need to forgive and remember, for when the hurt is deep, we need to learn something in the process about how to protect ourselves and those we love from having the same thing happen to them.”
While it’s painful to remember our past hurts, experiencing real forgiveness is a reminder of what God has done and continues to do in our lives as we extend the forgiveness God has bestowed on us to others.