“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.” ― Lewis B. Smedes
A term that comes up often in movies about the Mafia, is “Badabing, badaboom.” This word is really a replacement term for “forget about it.” Easy to roll off the tongue, but not always so easy to do. In most cases, this term doesn’t really mean, “forget about it” at all.
Forgiving and forgetting is something we pray for when we say the Lord’s Prayer, but do we really forget our past sins or forgive those who sin against us? Obviously when we’ve already said or done something to hurt another, the deed has been done and it’s not easy to forget about it, but God tells us that our sins have been forgiven. Doesn’t that give us a free pass to forget about them? I don’t think so.
The way to rectify our mistakes, misdeeds, sins, doing wrong to others, is to go directly to God and ask His forgiveness. Because of what Jesus has done for us, our sins have been erased in God’s eyes, but we still need to heal from the nagging memory of it. Confronting the person we’ve wronged and asking them for forgiveness is also part of the healing process.
When we say forgive and forget, it isn’t just a random phrase we throw out there to justify our wrongdoing. When we ask for forgiveness from God, we can finally forget that sin. It becomes part of the past. When we ask forgiveness from someone – even if they don’t give it – we can become released from the pain of the memory and move on.
So as we look ahead to the new year, let’s do so with hope for the future. There are things we can never change. There are sins we’ve done that we will never forget. There are those dark memories which keep popping up in a dream or thought that will undoubtedly haunt us until we die. There is also a bright side to this.
God forgave us for all of our sins, when His Son died and carried them to the grave. Because of that wondrous gift, God has forgotten all of them. We’ve been washed in the blood of the lamb – so fuhgeddaboutit!