Try saying “forgive and forget” to a mother who lost her child due to murder.
Try saying “forgive and forget” to a soldier who had to kill a mother to protect his men.
Try saying “forgive and forget” to a woman who was abducted and raped.
Try saying “forgive and forget” to someone who been through traumatic experiences.
How do you define traumatic experience? Do you know that certain people adapt and response to these events differently? Do you know a break-up can be traumatic? Do you know that even getting rejected can be traumatic? Do you know that sometimes when a traumatic event occurs, a traumatic past also triggers? That is why I think, “forgive and forget” is load of crap for irresponsible people. I wonder who even started that phrase. Forgive and forget is not a healthy advice for people that are going through traumatic experience. We do not know if someone is going through traumatic experiences also, so we might as well not say the phrase. It is more harmful than helpful. I believe in forgiveness but I do not believe in forgetting, unless you have memory problems.
Recently, a student asked me what is my greatest weakness. I told the student, “my memory,” because I can remember good and bad things. And most of the time, I only remember the bad things. I am so used to remembering bad things that I neglect looking at the good memories.
This idea reminds of the story of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). She was with Jesus and they shared dialogue regarding Jesus is the living water, and she will never go thirsty again. The woman had five husbands, it must have been tough for her. I really wonder if Jesus said, “forgive and forget,” but as far as a I know, Jesus guided the woman into a path to the Messiah.
My point is, “forgive and forget” is for lazy and irresponsible people. If you are a Christian, please do not use this phrase. Instead, allow the person who is broken to weep, to talk about the past, to get mad, and to be there for them. Then, introduce them about the living water. People are thirsty for freedom, for forgiveness, and for healing.
My advice is not to use the idea of “forgive and forget,” but allow reconciliation, healing, and maybe just forgiveness.
This blog is dedicated for the people who’ve been hurt tremendously.