The Lie of Forgive and Forget

So much unspoken shame is added to your pain when you are told to forgive and forget. Because you can’t forget. The pain is real. The pain is justified. The pain is also your beginning.

You should not forget. As if you really could. This God-given life is teaching you something. I’m just sorry this betrayal has hurt you so much. This new beginning for you means the ending of a life you used to know. A life you probably still want, at least at this point.

“The brokenhearted are indeed the bravest among us—they dared to love, and they dared to forgive.” –Dr. Brene Brown, Rising Strong

Hello, brave one. I’m asking you to move towards forgiveness. I’m also agreeing that you won’t forget this betrayal. You will not forgive and forget. Your life is forever changed.

Forgiveness and trust are often lumped together and they shouldn’t be.

Forgiveness has to do with the past. Trust has to do with the future. (Trust, Dr. Henry Cloud)

Forgiveness pays a debt. Trust is earned.

Here is where forgiveness and trust cross each other. If you lead your life with unforgiveness you will have a problem with trusting anyone. This will keep you locked up in a small world.

Hello, brave one. The unforgiveness in your life is not your best look. Please move towards forgiveness as hard as it is.

Read also: Bitterness and Revenge Are Not Protecting You Even Though They Feel Like a Friend

If I give you permission to not forgive and forget, do you think you can move towards forgiveness?

To trust again—anyone again—you have to know the track record of the person.

The 5 Essentials of Trust from Dr. Henry Cloud are Understanding, Intent, Ability, Character, and Track Record. (Read more details here.) Each one builds on each other. I am asking you to forgive this person but you aren’t being asked to forget what was done because if trust is to be built again—with anyone—you have to remember the track record.

I may forgive those who have smashed my heart but this doesn’t mean we are back in relationship. We start over with those 5 Essentials of Trust to see if even a relationship is possible. Too often it is not. I count the losses. I grieve the losses. I’ve had so many losses since the covid pandemic has ended. Now I’m trusting God to bring a return of new relationships to my life.

We had a conversation about this at my church. Because this is what we do. Someone mentioned the process he went through to forgive the person who robbed him at gunpoint. He noticed he was beginning to forget this person and what happened. Was this “forgiving and forgetting?” Was this good? Many words of encouragement came back to him. These are signs of him healing because he moved towards forgiveness. And wisdom because he is less naïve.

This is the connection between trust and forgiveness. I am inviting more trusting relationships. I am also not being naïve. I still need this gift of people.

To live this larger and braver life, especially after healing, you will be able to trust again. You will be able to trust again because you are wiser. You simply can’t “forgive and forget” and move on like your heart wasn’t smashed.

Curious question: What is the the agenda of the one who is advising you to “forgive and forget?”

Read the book

A small book about being the people that hurting people need.

“This is the book that I wish I had had for people in my life that have suffered and needed me to be that compassionate friend. This is the book that I wish others in my life had read before they dismissed my pain, or compared it to theirs, or stumbled horribly through trying to lessen my pain because it was actually really about THEM not feeling comfortable with it.”

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