Forgive and Forget….Really?

“Forgive and forget!”….do you cringe when you hear someone say that? Is this another catch phrase that has been attributed to God when maybe that is not exactly what He wants to communicate?

Forgive and…..let’s find another word.  I will say “entrust.” (1 Peter 2:23)  It doesn’t roll as nicely off the tongue, but it seems to come closer to how the Lord models forgiveness.  Jesus, who was our example of how to live through hateful and evil circumstances, forgave and entrusted.  I doubt that He ever forgot what happened to Him on earth.

We assume that just because the memory is there, so is the hurt.  In God it is possible to have one without the other.

Entrusting is easier to do than forgetting, unless we’re talking about things like locking my keys in the car or forgetting to take my lunch to work.  When I am hurt by someone, when I remember what they did, trying the forgive and forget combo just frustrates me, like God is asking me to do something impossible and unfair.  When I forgive and entrust, I make a conscious decision that has everything to do with my will (forgiving), and then I reveal my wounded heart to God, which has everything to do with my emotions (entrusting).  Entrusting means that I have found a safe place to feel hurt, then to receive God’s love, protection, and healing.

The memory of God’s comfort overpowers the memory of the initial injury.

I might never forget what happened, but it doesn’t sting me anymore.  It doesn’t hold me back anymore.  It doesn’t produce anger at God for making me do something that I really can’t do.  (Again, I’m not talking about when I’ve forgotten a friend’s name that I’ve known for 20 years or what my own cell phone number is.)

Jesus shows us how to not take on a wounded spirit, collecting hurts for future reference or trying to comfort ourselves in unhealthy ways.  He shows us instead how to take on the Father’s comfort.  He longs for us to entrust, to experience that comforting relationship.

Forgetting is something we were not wired for.  Our brains were created with an incredible capacity to remember volumes of information and to cooperate with our five senses to relive scores of individual moments of our lives.  When I say “I can forgive, but I can’t forget,” God might lovingly say, “Duh, I didn’t make you that way.”  We were created instead to seek out and entrust ourselves to safe and loving relationships.  Our brains are not wired like the computer I am working on, where I can simply click one button, and whether I intended to or not, delete any or all of my stored memory.  In the way that God formed us, forgetting is unnatural; entrusting is natural.

Stop trying to forget all those things that are nagging you, which invite bitterness and weigh down your spirit.   Entrust instead; get close enough to the Father so that you can tell Him how you feel.  And then get closer so that you can feel his comfort.  Let me know how it works for you.

Okay, so has anyone seen my sunglasses?

” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”  1 Peter 2:23



  1. Jennifer–you did it again. Such a wonderful way to transfer hurt and anger, and a concept I had not fully thought of. Thank you, thank you. Blessings always, Geoergia

  2. You nailed it again. What a great interpretation of a verse of scripture that seems so out of reach until you explained it this way. I agree with Darla this is one to read a few times to change the old patterns of self pity, protection, and withdrawal so easily embraced when we are hurt.

  3. Wow! Thanks for sharing. I so, so agree. I think of how I rattle off stories of my past now and there’s not a bit of pain. But it’s not as though I’ve forgotten my past. What a tragedy that would be!

    And, no, I’ve not seen your sunglasses, Darling. 🙂

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