How do we forgive and yet not forget, or is that the same?
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There is a razor sharp line between forgiveness and not forgetting when somebody did you wrong. The dilemma is that if you do not forgive you just may turn very bitter and ultimately it will be you who is turning into someone whom you do not want to be. Then there is the gray area of not forgetting. I am getting the feeling that the majority of people not forgetting comes with holding a grudge – they have not really forgiven anyone.
My most intense personal example for this was my dad whose divorce I facilitated on behalf of my mom. He had done really awful things to her and my sister, but we had always been close and I never wanted to give up on him. So one day we had a meeting at home with mom and him dividing all the household items fair and square.
After the meeting he went into his home office and I went to my room. All of a sudden I heard my own voice coming from the home office – he had taped our whole meeting and did not tell us about it. I was furious and told him that too. It took me years to get over the betrayal, but I thought that I had forgiven him. Until one day in 1995 I finally managed to really do that, because the bitterness had turned me into a carbon copy of him, just 180 degree opposite.
When you want peace of mind and your life back, you will need to be ready to forgive all the way. No holding grudges or acting and reacting differently when the person is near you. Say a prayer for the person and tell yourself that you will from then on free of thoughts of vengeance and hatred. Be thankful for the lessons learned.
Not forgetting in this context means that you do not forget the lessons you learned from the experience. You do not want to go here again, right? Take the events as an experiment to what did not work versus the ones that did. I am not saying that you should not fight back if you are being picked on, hurt, or otherwise threatened in any way. Ask for help immediately, or call the police if need be. When the dust settles though seriously consider forgiveness without ever forgetting the circumstances of the events and how to avoid them in the future.
Disclaimer: My blog is not intended to be a substitution for professional help (legal, medical, police, etc). Please make sure to seek help wherever and however needed. These are YOUR choices, not mine.