The friend replied, "You mean hysterical."
"No," he insisted, "I mean historical. Every time we argue she drags up everything from the past and holds it against me."
How many times have you heard the expression, "forgive and forget?" We know we should forgive, and we often want to, but forgetting is another matter. Feelings of inadequacy rise up within us because we think we should be better people, big enough to let the past go. So the relationship remains damaged and we struggle with guilt at our own weakness.
The problem lies in what it means to "forget." If forgetting means that we have no memory of the offense, or the event, then it is hopeless. Everything that we experience remains in our mind, in our memory. But offenses that cause anger or hurt are especially imprinted on our mental history. Removing such incidents or events by sheer effort is beyond our ability.
What "forgetting" means is that we choose never to bring the matter up again. When we have an argument with someone, a spouse, family member, or co-worker, we choose not to mention past offenses. That way the only issue is the matter at hand. Actually, past offenses should have been resolved so that the need to revisit is removed.
An example of this "forgetting" is found in God's dealings with us. The Bible says that God forgives us and "remembers our sins and lawless deeds no more." How can God forget? He's supposed to know everything. It means that once God forgives, He chooses to never mention those things again.
If it's good enough for God, it ought to be good enough for us.
© 2003, John C. Fitts, III. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted from Grace Drops, Volume I (2003).