Let's face it, we have all been hurt at one point during our lives. And the truth is, we will be hurt again. You have probably heard the saying, "Forgive and forget!" but that is much easier said than done. I could sit here and provide words of encouragement to you like: the past is the past, focus on the future, don't let what happened yesterday affect your today and tomorrow. Do you feel better? If so, I am glad, but the truth is I have sat in front of people and had them spout these phrases out to me and felt no relief. If anything, I felt worse; I felt like I was the one in the wrong at this point for opening up and telling them how I felt.
I eventually came to realize the truth, I was hurt. I had been burned one too many times. I also realized that I didn't need to feel bad for feeling hurt. I needed to let it out, learn a lesson from the hurt, but remember the hurt itself. I also needed to look to the Lord and His word. I know, I said to remember the lesson, but not the hurt... contradicting isn't it. Keep reading and give me chance to help you understand what i mean.
If you are like me, forgiving isn't the problem, forgetting is. The Bible tells us time and time again, through beautiful verses, that we need to forgive. The Lord's prayer even says,"Forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." So, why do we still feel bitter towards a person (or people) who have hurt us?
Is it the fact that we have forgiven, but not forgotten?
I was taught, from as far back as I can remember, that I needed to forgive people who hurt my feelings. What I wasn't taught was how to forget the situation (I am not saying that I was raised poorly, you did a great job mom and dad)!
When I say forgetting, I don't mean suppressing the memory so deep in your mind that it all just explodes one day, that isn't healthy... please don't do that! By forgetting, I mean not letting it affect you everyday for the rest of your life. We don't need to let the situation that hurt us affect the way we act for the rest of our lives; we don't need to feel self conscious when we are around the person(s) who hurt us. By forgetting the incident, we can live our lives the way that we want, not by changing our persona based on something that someone said.
I know it is a challenging concept; I am still struggling with it myself. When I find my self dwelling on a particular situation, I turn to the Word. Here are some verses that help me:
Psalm 37: 1-4: Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Philippians 3:13: Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.
Isaiah 43:25: I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your own sins.
Dwelling in our God can shelter and protect us from dwelling in the past hurts that we have had. Remembering to forgive AND forget will be something that we, as humans, will struggle with forever. It can be done with the Lord's guidance and being patient with ourselves.