Forgive and (don’t) forget

So, here we are again.

Those who know me may remember that I had blogs in the past, and some of you may have enjoyed the odd post. For a while it seemed everyone was blogging and because I suspected I had nothing to say that wasn’t already being said, I gave it up.

Well, that’s not completely true. I did question whether anything I had to say had any real value even though I had a fair number of followers.  The catalyst to giving up was when someone who’s opinion I respected at the time told me blogging was pretty pointless and self-serving. It was passed off as a generalized comment but I knew it was meant for an audience of one. Me. Ouch.

Now hindsight being 20/20, I know that relationship had already begun to sour, and those words, seemingly tossed off lightly were actually aimed as a weapon. I take writing seriously – I can articulate things on paper I can’t say in person – and that individual knew that.

For a long time I carried that hurt. I tucked it in a pocket of my heart – do hearts even have pockets? Whatever. I’m a writer not a cardiologist, stay with me here – and I hung on to it. I’d pull it out every once in a while and feel sorry for myself.

People who say forgive and forget are idiots. Forgiveness and forgetting aren’t equals. Think about it. If you forget every time you got hurt, you’d never learn from your mistakes or your choices.

Here’s the key – if you really and truly forgive, you don’t have to forget.

Did you catch that? If you forgive, you don’t have to forget.

You don’t have to forget because it doesn’t matter anymore. Forgiveness means you take back your power. You take ownership of your response.

My pastor, David R. Stokes said it this way in a recent talk at my church

“The greatest short-circuit to healing when we get hurt

is the refusal to learn how to forgive those who have done us harm.”

Have you been forgiven? Then forgive.

Have you been shown mercy? Show mercy.

For me as a Christian, forgiveness mean I accept that God has a bigger plan for me. Even if you’re someone who doesn’t identify themselves as a Christian you can’t deny the power and the healing that comes from letting go. Forgiveness releases you, it releases them, and empowers you to move on.

I forgave that person a long time ago. The relationship changed and their opinion didn’t matter anymore. Most of all, I realized that I had given them power over my happiness, something they didn’t care about. Forgiving them didn’t mean what they said was okay, but it did mean that it didn’t matter anymore.