I am sure you have been met with several situations in life where you have been wronged or someone did something to you that you didn’t deserve at all. You recap the situation and try and figure out if you could have done something differently so the person wouldn’t have hurt you or caused you unwarranted pain.
I have had several situations like this in the past and some more recent than others. I was hurt. I felt the sting of unbridled pain rip through me like a hot knife to cold butter. I didn’t deserve to be treated so carelessly, but it happened.
When someone wrongs us or hurts us I know the right thing to do is always extend forgiveness, so that is what I did. I really meant it when I said, “I forgive you,” but I somehow forgot about the fact that just because I am able to forgive quickly doesn’t mean I will forget just as easily. Believe me I WANT to forget the wrong done but our minds have this amazing thing called “memory” that we just can’t escape no matter how hard we try. Our memories are like a permanent hard drive that you can’t erase, they can be replayed anytime day or night.
Forgiveness is one of those things I have had to learn how to do. I used to think that if I forgive someone that would negate what the other person did. It seemed so counter-intuitive to extend forgiveness. I felt like if I could just hold on to un-forgiveness long enough then I could control or dictate the retaliatory pain I wanted the other person to feel, but in reality the longer I held on the more the pain increased and bitterness would set in.
I don’t hold on to un-forgivessness like that anymore, but something I am realizing and asking myself is how to deal with the incapability to forget what happened. How do we move on from the memory of said painful situation? How do we deal with flashbacks or situations that trigger memories sometimes on a daily basis? It kinda tempts me to rescind my forgiveness (I don’t ever do that but I can’t say I haven’t entertained the thought!).
I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to this whole memory thing. One thing I think that has, and is, helping my mind process hurtful situations and their plaguing memories, is that it is OK to not forget about it. Contrary to popular opinion you don’t have to forgive AND forget. I would even venture to say that you shouldn’t forget about it.
I believe we need to remember so that we can learn to love who we are as God created us. We have value and we didn’t deserve to be hurt or mistreated. We aren’t at fault for the pain that was inflicted on us. By remembering it helps us to do some self care and create good boundaries. I am not saying to become mean or defensive, build unhealthy walls or exclaim, “no one will ever hurt ME again!” What I am saying is that it is good to create healthy boundaries so you can reflect love not only for yourself but for the one who hurt you.
There isn’t a magical time frame, but I will say that the memories do become less frequent and it won’t feel like a fresh scab that is being picked and is now bleeding all over again.
I’m not so sure that time heals but I do know it takes time to heal.
If you’re going through a time of needing to forgive know that it is your responsibility to forgive and release yourself from the burden of trying to make the other person pay for what they did. You don’t have to forget about it, but you do need to forgive.
One last thing, memories aren’t for keeping long term track of wrongs done. It says in the Bible, “Love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs.” What I believe that means is that I don’t get to keep a tally. I don’t get to keep a score sheet of the wrongs done to throw it up in their face next time something happens (believe me, I definitely want to at times….I am still a work in progress).
•Memories are not for building walls but for eradicating the desire to build one.
•remember to forgive
•remember to remember
•remember to love
Hope you have a lovely and splendid day!