FORGIVING—is Not Forgetting (Matthew 18:21-22)

One of the big mistakes that I made as a victim of abuse was not only trying to forgive, but also trying to forget. You see, when you forget something, you actually start all over. Then, you are more likely to allow something to repeat itself. You also don’t learn from your mistakes as you pretend that certain events did not happen.

Like many, in my desire to believe my abuser when he said that he would change, I would agree to give him another chance…again and again. I naively believed that he would change. Unfortunately, in my desire to fix him and change him, I was allowing him to tear me down emotionally. I had accepted the constant verbal and emotional attacks as normal communication.
That is a problem with most victims. They have a tendency to want to fix their abusers. In the meantime, they get more and more broken. Unfortunately, we can’t fix anyone. Only God can fix someone. All that we, as victims, can do is to get away to a place where we are safe and can start healing. Then, the next most important thing that we can do is to forgive those who have hurt us. God requires us to forgive. He does not require us to forget.
Now, I can tell you that forgiving others who have hurt you is not an easy task. I can honestly tell you that for years after the abuse and infidelity, I wanted the one who had hurt me so deeply to “burn in hell”. Also, as a Christian, I struggled with forgiving him because I felt that it meant that I should stay friends with him for the children. But every time I was near him, he had a control over me and torn me down emotionally again. I had to finally break all contact with him to begin healing and truly release him to God. Unfortunately, the wounds were so deep and the memories were so suppressed, that God had to bring many suppressed memories back to my consciousness so that I could deal with them and release the hurt that accompanied them. So you see, I know from experience that we should not forget…but we have to forgive and release it all to God so that we can heal and move on.
Matthew 18:21-22“Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

12 thoughts on “FORGIVING—is Not Forgetting (Matthew 18:21-22)

  1. Reblogged this on The Abuse Expose' with Secret Angel and commented:

    I have felt that I am supposed to talk about forgiveness. Forgiveness is not something that we do for those who have hurt us… Forgiveness is actually something that we do for ourselves. Unforgiveness can lead to health problems and also ties God’s hands that He can not deal with those who have hurt us. It does not mean that we forget, just let go of our past….

  2. Excellent post! You rightly point out a mistake many who have been abused make: they let the abuser back into their lives so that the opportunity (!?) to be hurt is present yet again. Forgiveness does not mean that you need to open yourself up to be hurt again. It sets you free from all those negative thoughts and emotions so that you can move on with your life emotionally and spiritually.

    God wants us to value or love ourselves appropriately. Part of that is making choices that benefit our lives. Returning to an abuser is not being loving to yourself.

    May this comment minister to those who may have made these mistakes, and may they be able to break free for those mistakes and move forward with the rest of their lives.

    Pastor Sharon

    • Amen… I kept making that mistake until I understood that forgiving did not mean that I needed to forget what he had done and stay friends with him. I could forgive him and stay away from him… I am sure that many more victims need to understand that…

  3. If by forgive you mean, don’t seek revenge and let God take care of it. No problem. But if that means I say I am not angry with my abuser, that what he did doesn’t hurt me any more….nope. I’m not even close. I don’t even want to be yet, and I know the Lord knows my heart and accepts me where I am.

    There is a quote often passed around facebook that says forgive so you will have peace. I think that is wrong. I think peace comes first. I believe we work hand in hand with the Lord (and that includes therapy) and He guides to a place of peace and healing where we are able to forgive.

    It may take a long time, but I’m okay with that, and I know the Lord is okay with me.

    • That is exactly right. God knows our hearts and the wounds on it. He accepts us where were are and will bring us to that place of healing where we can forgive. We just have to give it all to God… Too many victims feel that forgiveness means to pretend that it never happened and be friends with their abuser but that is not it at all..Don’t forget what happened. Just give it to God and let Him help you through it..

  4. Just came across this quote yesterday: “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude” — Martin Luther King, Jr. For me, that means when I am reminded of a hurtful event or conversation, I prayerfully forgive that person–again. I say the words, even if there are no warm and fuzzy feelings. And I pray that God bless that person, just as Jesus commanded (Matthew 5:44). God has forgiven me of plenty; I need to be a gracious forgiver also. And though I may not feel love toward that person (Nowhere in scripture are we commanded to FEEL love), I can rely on the Holy Spirit for the strength to treat him/her in loving ways.

    Thank you very much for visiting my blog. I’m delighted you found “Seeking God” to be meaningful.

  5. Amen sister!! I think this is one of the most hardest steps towards healing your soul. I am actually going to write my own thoughts on the subject in an upcoming post. You can never truly ever forget any of the abuse you go through but once you can get to the point of forgiving not only the abuser but yourself life gets much easier. It took me a very long time to do this 2 years after i left my abuser and lost my children to him but forgiveness is everything and i am at totally spiritual peace in my Life.

    Great Post!!

  6. Pingback: FORGIVING—is Not Forgetting | The Abuse Expose' with Secret Angel

  7. Pingback: FORGIVING—is Not Forgetting | Faithful Steward Ministries and FSM Women's Outreach

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