Recently the marriage accountability group that my wife and I attend watched a video as a discussion aid. In this one of the people said something to the effect of, “We are called to forgive and forget, but I can’t do that.” As we spoke about this statement, it came to me that the very premise of “forgive and forget” is flawed. As I looked at Scripture and God’s forgiving us our sins, Jeremiah 31:24 stands out: “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (NASB; emphasis mine) What fascinates me about this statement is the volitional aspect of God’s not remembering our sin. He chooses not to think about it. I do not think that an omniscient God would be able to actually purge something like that from His mind any more than most of us can forget the wrongs done to us. However, He chooses not to remember. He doesn’t forget, He just refuses to remember our sins.
We are thus called to a similar action. When we forgive someone, we must choose not to remember what they have done. When it comes up again, forgive them again and put the thought away. As time goes on, God will take away the negative emotions tied to the event and when it comes up, I can say, “Yes, it happened, but it’s over and I am free of it.”