Forgiveness is not simple. Working with couples that are dealing with the aftermath of infidelity, pornography addiction, or years of hurt and anger, I see the struggle of forgiveness. One of the hardest parts of forgiveness is the idea of forgetting once we forgive.
I used to think that God was the only one who could have this forgive and forget thing down. In our human efforts, we could work through the steps of forgiveness, but there would be memories or triggers reminding us that past hurts could not be forgotten.
Today I read in Hebrew 10:17 “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more”. Sounds a lot like forgetting, but I think it’s very different. God didn’t forget, He decided to “remember no more.”
When I remember something, I have the choice what to do with that memory. This simple example may help you see how it is a choice to “remember no more”. When I was little, my brothers would tease me by singing a song that literally brought me to tears. I can’t forget the song or how it made me feel, but I can choose to remember differently. Instead of recalling how rejected I felt, I can laugh about the song because my brothers have grown up to be great loving men. I have grown, too, and am no longer the pesky little sister. We have all changed and learned new healthier ways to communicate. I’ve chosen to remember no more the old hurt.
There are still old triggers when I see people who have hurt me in the past, reminding of me of painful feelings. Acknowledging the past hurt, I can choose to remember the pain as a moment in time. The following steps can help me remember no more when I can’t seem to forget even though I’ve forgiven the other person.
Steps to Forgive and Not Remember Past Hurts
- Acknowledging the past hurt.
- Remember the pain as a moment in time, not current time.
- Remind myself, I have worked through the steps of forgiveness.
- Look for ways my relationship with the person has changed and grown since the hurtful time.
- Focus on how I have changed and grown.
- Think about how the other person has grown or changed.
- Choose to not hold this past transgression over that person, releasing the negative feelings of anger and sadness that were dredged up.
Each day I have a choice to move forward, letting go of the hurt and seeking God to remember again His grace and mercy.
Who can you choose to forgive? How will you choose to remember no more?
Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.
By Heather Larson, M.A.
Wife to Peter
Mom of three
1 Corinthians 13 Team Member
Associate Director of 10 Great Dates