It can be hard to forgive those who let you down and break your trust. Those who intentionally, or is it even worse unintentionally, disregard your view and your feelings and act in a way which is hurtful. Sometimes we are faced with tough choices in how we react and respond, should we forgive and forget?
What Does the Bible Say About Forgiveness?
Today the importance of being able to forgive is generally recognised as being good for our own mental health and well-being. But Scripture has always been very clear that forgiveness is a godly principle.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.Matthew 6:14-15
Jesus taught in the Lord’s prayer the principle of divine forgiveness. He also expanded on this in the parable of the ‘unmerciful servant.’ The story of a man who was forgiven so much, his whole debt was cancelled, and his family were spared being sold into slavery. But he was then condemned for being unable to forgive another person for the small amount that they owed him….
As we receive God’s forgiveness, we are humbled by the recognition of His mercy towards us. When we are reconciled with God, through Jesus’ sacrifice, we are overwhelmed by his love. We cannot begin to grasp the price that was paid, the suffering that was endured, to restore our relationship with God. The gifts that we receive far exceed anything that we could ever give.
To all those who sin against us, we are called to forgive, to draw out of the mercy and forgiveness that we have received. It may not be easy to overcome our emotions. But if we are willing to commit to being obedient to God’s word, His grace will bring an enabling power. The act of forgiveness often leads to a sense of release and an inner peace.
Does the Bible Say Forgive and Forget?
Scripture clearly teaches us to practice forgiveness out of the mercy that we receive from God. But what does the Bible say, if anything, about forgetting any offences that have been committed against us? Maybe the first question we should ask is, does God forget our sins?
Forgive and Forget Bible Verse
For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.Hebrews 8:12
This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.Hebrews 10:16-17
These verses are part of a quote from Jeremiah 31:31-34, a prophetic announcement of the new covenant that God would make with His people. This is the covenant of grace that we have received with our restored relationship with God. He is no longer remote but is ever-present and known by His people. Now God’s law, His ways and His will, becomes written on our hearts as we receive His love. And God promises that He will ‘remember our sins no more.’ Forgiveness will become a lasting reality by Jesus’ one-time sacrifice for our sin.
Scripture does not say that God ‘forgets’ our sin, what it says is that God will ‘remember our sins no more.’ Is the language important, is there a difference between forgetting and remembering no more?
Forgive and Forget Meaning
As I am writing it is my brother’s birthday – a big birthday in fact! If I had forgotten his birthday, the implication would be that I had not acknowledged it in anyway, because it had not been in my thoughts. If I remember his birthday, however, the assumption is that I will have done something to show that I have remembered. I will have sent him a card or a gift or contacted him in some way to say Happy Birthday!
So true remembrance is associated with action. That is the way the word ‘remember’ is used in Scripture – when God remembers, He acts!
- Genesis 8:1 But God remembered Noah……and He sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.
- Genesis 30:22 Then God remembered Rachel; He listened to her and enabled her to conceive.
- Exodus 2:24-25 God heard their (Israel’s) groaning and He remembered his covenant with Abraham…and was concerned about them.
- 1 Samuel 1:19-20 Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah and the Lord remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son.
When God remembers our sins no more, the action that the remembrance of our sin would bring about is removed. God’s ‘not remembering’ is not forgetfulness – He is omniscient, He knows everything and forgets nothing. But, God removes our sins from us – the psalmist says ‘as far as the east is from the west.’ When we are saved our sins are completely forgiven, by Jesus’ one-time sacrifice, and removed from us. We are declared righteous before God and there is no condemnation, we are set free!
Should I forgive and FORGET?
When God ‘remembers our sins no more,’ it means He takes no action, over our sin. He now treats us as righteous. We are born again to experience new life in Christ, and to live life to the full.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.2 Corinthians 5:21
To forgive and forget or ‘to remember no more’ means to reach a point where we can acknowledge what happened but without a reaction. The response of hurt, pain, anger, and confusion have gone, the offence no longer has the power to cause us grief. Deep and grievous offences may leave scars. But, they can be a testimony of God’s healing power and a witness to His redemption and restoration.
How do we remember no more? By remembering God’s healing power and transformation, then we remember without pain.Tweet