Memory and Forgiveness

“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.” – Lewis B. Smedes

We’ve all heard of the saying “forgive and forget”. If someone hurts us in some way we are told to put the past behind us – that holding onto unhappy memories prevents us from moving forward, prevents us from living our lives free of bitterness and sorrow. If we hold onto such memories and don’t “forgive and forget” this can lead to a living a life focused on revenge. If we can’t forgive and forget, we can’t move on.

But perhaps a different way to look at it is to “forgive and remember”. If we want to make a fresh start, a clean slate and put our past behind us, we need to not only forgive, but also remember – as Lewis Smedes says: “forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember” and gives us “hope for our future.”

Finding peace within ourselves and making peace with others is all related to forgiving and remembering. Forgetting is not necessary; although once you forgive you will probably find you no longer need to remember.

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