Forgive & Forget?

A Biblical Survival Guide by Mary Ann Froehlich

I’m making my way through the book “Living with Thorns,” and I read a statement in it this evening regarding the old adage “Forgive and Forget” that just astounded me.

The particular passage deals with how we survive our “thorns” in life, whether medical, physical, emotional, relationship -centered—whatever our thorns may be—and it highlighted the need to be aware of how God helps us work through them. It’s not so much that he “heals” us of our troubles, but that He allows us (with effort on our part as well) to move beyond them, so that at a future point, we can grow in a direction separate from our pain, our loss, our struggle.

The author then makes a HUGE point of putting all this into perspective, asking the reader to look back on various times when they found themselves struggling in life, and then asking them to compare how they felt then with how they are doing now. Has the reader moved forward? Are they doing better now in comparison? Are they continuing to make progress? And, finally, did God change their circumstance or them?

What ties all of this together is the fact that we are asked to remember these times. Maybe you’ve been wounded by a friend. Maybe your spouse has cheated. Maybe you lost a job or a family member. These are all big thorns, yet smaller ones are not dismissed. They, too, require thoughtfulness in getting past them.

The Bible talks about God as a healer a restorer of our souls—what an awesome concept! God as our restorer. But if you take into context what both the Old and New Testaments relay with regard to this, you’ll find something amazing. Isaiah, Jeremiah and Joel all make profound statements on God’s restorative power from sin. And St. Paul himself is an illuminating example: he persecuted Jews who were spreading the Good News, only to be shown the error of his sin in so doing and to become one of the biggest fans of Christ in all of history.

But in restoring Paul, God did not let him forget from where he started! He restored Paul from his sin—from his thorns— just as He restores all believers to Him through Christ, but with remembrance of our sins. Although we are forgiven—restored—we can recall past transgressions (against us or by us). If we weren’t able to do so, we would never have the context to compare prior bad deeds/habits with ones that we know are good.

In not forgetting, we are able to know and measure what we have been saved from! To me this is paramount in beginning to heal from my thorns. I may have a ways yet to go in the process, but I can now see more clearly through the thickets by applying this wonderful insight.

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