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Forgive And Forget

Christians can forgive abuse they experienced as children, but how do they forget it? I love God; I know that I am forgiven, but I find it very difficult to trust people. I know that I need only to trust the Lord, but I feel something is missing in my love for myself and others.

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 ---melissa on 5/26/07
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Living for God is the way to living a truly full life. The way God gave us to do that is to live in service to others. If it's hard to trust, it's hard to serve. I've forgiven my parents, but I don't have amnesia! There are layers to forgiveness. It is a process, and it strengthens us. You can ask God for help, and He will. You are in my prayers, Love.
---Deb on 3/24/08

You may have all your memories, but you can detach yourself from the pain of it by putting it in your past. Abuse happens to many of us on different levels, some suffer more than others, as from the spouse whom disrespects their mate by being flirtacious and amorous with someone other than their married spouse, to the wife whom mutilated her spouses private parts. Much praying with Jesus, and perhaps ministerial counseling or therapy from pros in this area will heal the deep wounds and unspeakable damage.
---Eloy on 3/23/08

This is a deep question: And no easy answers. First of all lets remember God does not have to forgive your enemies. Infact, if they don't get saved they will be in a whole lot of hot water. For some of us we were born with a little more of the forgiving spirit than perhaps others. For some God may have to work a little harder. God never expects His people to hang around others that are rude and abusive. The bottom line in all of this is to LET GOD MAKE YOU. He already knows all about it.
---catherine on 3/23/08

Realistically, it is impossible to truly FORGET anything (as long as your mind is intact). Mankind has always tripped itself up with 'words', even believing that scripture is THE word of God (it is "the WORD OF TRUTH", 2 Timothy 2:15, Ephesians 1:13, John 14:6), the introductory doctrine of Christ (Hebrews 6:1). WE should NOT walk by faith, but "WALK BY THE SPIRIT" (Galatians 5:16 and 25).

Your sufferings of abuse are a part of who you are (and always were).
---greg on 3/23/08

I suffered 51 years of suicidal depression from childhood emotional abuse in a severely dysfunctional family. I don't let the past bother me anymore now that I outlived every member of my family (I make believe I have no past, no logic, but it brings peace), so "FORGET" is the wrong word. People who haven't truly suffered can't understand what you and I can. We are no longer limited to the world that can be seen (we don't walk by sight),...we know the world that's FELT in the heart (spirit).
---greg on 3/23/08

If you are not forgetting, you have not forgiven. All the symptoms would not be at your fingertips, with immediate recall.
Forgiveness will give you freedom. You will be able to love others, no matter what they have done or continue to do to you.
It does not mean you avail yourself to abuse from others or become the carpet they can walk on. Oh no.
Find yourself a good friend/teacher/clergy/pastor and let them help you forgive. Setting your will to forgive, will set you free.
---Tuscany on 3/22/08

I want to say I understand Fully to your question, my husband was shot and killed in front of me 6 years ago, this june 3rd, and through Gods love and Forgiveness I forgave the guy who shot him, and if I as a No one can forgive something Horrific, just imagine how much More Gods love and Forgiveness is for Us,
Know you're in my thoughts and Prayers
---Kimberly on 6/26/07

Hi maryj (hope I spelled that right); I agree with you; some things are so traumatic we do have to keep them in constant prayer. I was strangled as a teenager and to this day I flip out when someone touches my throat, even if I know they're not trying to hurt me! Time definitely does NOT heal all wounds!
---Mary on 6/17/07

I can relate to this! We have to keep choosing to forgive and not allow ourselves to become bitter, but I don't know if we can ever forget - not the way God forgets sin once we confess it. But we can pray and seek God for inner healing.
---maryj9396 on 6/17/07

Hi Ashley; I am soooo sorry for your wife! :( That is soooooo sad, and what's even worse is when they "praise God" while they're abusing their kids--boy, that would certainly leave scars! I will pray for your wife; give her a hug for me please.
---Mary on 5/31/07

Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord. My wife was abused, raped and tormented daily by christian foster parents. Her faith in God was shattered. She couldn't understand how anyone that professed to love Jesus could be so evil. She has flashbacks, anxiety attacks, panic attacks daily and is on meds for life. They went to church every time the doors opened and yelled praise God. God will avenge her at judgment day, when he says to them I never knew ye and casts them out for all eternity.
---ashley on 5/31/07

melissa I see everyone here is telling you all different kinds of theories, etc., I was abused as a child and as an adult, severely beaten and sexually abused.
1)Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling.
2)Once you tell God "I choose to forgive that person who hurt me." List everything that person did to you. Tell God all about it. Release it all to God even if it takes you months to get it all out.
3)Choose to forgive,
---donna5634 on 5/31/07

Part #2- I ran out of space.
and then the healing will begin. It's God that will heal the wounds that go so deep inside of you and He will do it to the point where your mind is free from the abuse also. I never think about my abuse anymore. I allowed a Holy God to heal it. It took years, but I got the healing I needed and you can too. I will pray for you. I love you dearly.
---donna5634 on 5/31/07

Do you say or think things like this?

I forgive the person but I will let God deal with them. If you want God to judge and punish them, that is not forgiveness.

How would you feel if God said to you I forgive you but I am going to avoid you and not speak to you, would you feel forgiven? That is not forgiveness. God's forgiveness restores you.
---Tuscany on 5/28/07

Do you have any anger or bad feelings toward the person? When you fully forgive the person, anger will be replaced with pity for them.

Do you still hold on to the memory of the wrong done to you thinking about it often? True forgiveness forgets, because of the healing of forgiveness the pain disappears as if it did not happen. When God forgives He forgets it forever as if it never occurred.
---Tuscany on 5/28/07

Do you have trouble accepting God's love and accepting God's forgiveness? It might be because you are standing in judgment of another person. God has mercy and compassion for you. Forgive others and you will be able to accept God's forgiveness in your life.

But you do not have to be the carpet or accept abuse from others. Forgiveness will bring you freedom. God will help you forget the trauma.
---Tuscany on 5/28/07

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My friend, 'Diana', grew up in the south. Persecution she suffered because of race, is beyond comprehension. Pastoring in a white community, not without persecution. If she had to, she'd cry out to the Lord every day at the church, "Lord, I choose to forgive them." I watched her pray and it broke my heart. She taught me how to forgive.
Forgiveness results in forgetting.
---Tuscany on 5/28/07

greetings.Time and patience will move mountains of distrust. From The experience alone ,caution will be your guide to those who you may define as venominous to you and thus you will know how to handle the snake that wants to strike and posion you .
---earl on 5/28/07

You don't. When a person goes through something devestating, it scars them for life. The only way for them to forget, is if they go to heaven. Something terrible happened to me as a child. It took me 17 years to forgive these people. Even after I was saved, I still faught with forgiveness. But no I haven't forgotten it. For someone to say if you haven't forgotten it, you really didn't forgive them. Apparently they didn't have anything happen to them that devestating.
---Rebecca_D on 5/28/07

Hi; yeah I agree that forgiving and forgetting are two different things. I have finally confronted and forgiven the man who strangled me in high school. But to this day, anybody even affectionately touching my throat brings back the trauma.
---Mary on 5/27/07

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The phrase "forgive and forget" in not Biblical. We are only told to forgive one another (Matthew6:14;Ephesians4:32)or suffer the consequences (Hebrews12:14-15;2 John1:8). Forgiving frees you from the past, acting as though the event had never occurred. We remember the event, but we live as if we did not remember it. Just like God does to our sins(Hebrews 8:12). Remember, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as God has forgiven you." (Ephesians4:32)
---Steveng on 5/27/07

Continue to process the childhood abuse(talk about)with a professional until it is undercontrol.You have not fully grieved. This is not living in the past. Just process as it does not go away untill you do. You will not forget but you will be able to cast your burden upon the Lord once and for all.Remember that nomatter how you feel about yourself or Jesus ,HE is faithful to YOU. Meditate on RM 8:38,39.Someday you will realize how special you are because of your experiences and how you can minister.
---jody on 5/27/07

After the forgiveness process - the forgetting process comes naturally. It's not constantly on your mind, it goes. One day it no longer consumes your every waking thought.

Forgiveness resulting in forgetting; not the same as Forgetting - stuffing emotions down and suppressing with little if any relief.
(Tormented for years or an entire lifetime).
---Tuscany on 5/27/07

What if Science is controlling people?
---anonymous on 5/27/07

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Melissa, you do the best you can, and trust God to see you through the rest of the way.
---Jack on 5/27/07

You're not the only one who has things to forgive. It can seem like you are alone, but we all have things to forgive.

Things coming back to mind do not mean you are trying to remember them. Satan is cruel and stupid; don't give in to what he wants to do with you.

If something comes back, I just need to forgive BETTER, with more love and more caring prayer, each time it comes back. When I do this, then Satan has a way of not wanting to remind me, any more.
---Bill_bila5659 on 5/27/07

Melissa - - you said, "I find it very difficult to trust people. I know that I need only to trust the Lord" > well, Jesus trusted Judas with the money bag.

I'd say included in trusting God is obeying how He has you trust people.

But I notice how 1 Timothy 3:1-10 says men considered for ordination to care for God's church must be "tested" "first" (verse 10). So, even though they HAVE been forgiven, this does not mean they are to be trusted blindly.
---Bill_bila5659 on 5/27/07

So, I need to TEST before I trust. I am responsible for and ACCOUNTABLE for how I trust. So, it's on me, not on the other person. In God's love I have the sense to discern if and how to trust > "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment." (Philippians 1:9)

So, if I get fooled and hurt, yes the person betraying me is wrong; but it's my own fault that I made myself available, without making sure with God (1 Peter 3:13).
---Bill_bila5659 on 5/27/07

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"'And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.'" (Mark 11:25)

So, you will in prayer, I would think, REMEMBER what people have done to you. AND in prayer FORGIVE what you remember (-:} > in prayer lovingly caring for that person.
---Bill_bila5659 on 5/27/07

I don't think a person can forget child abuse when it happens to them. Even if you forgive the person. The effects on you can remain. Not trusting others goes with that. Knowing what you have to do and being able to break through that wall of protection are hard things. The best advice is prayer and counseling, not so you can forgive because I believe you have forgiven. But so that you can learn to trust Jesus and people - and at the very least create a door in that wall of protection
---grace3869 on 5/27/07

No matter what it is that has brought you to this day, there is no one outside of you and Christ that can help you get to the place you need to be. Don't allow others opinions to make you question your faith.
I've asked myself how can you forgive, much less forget when the damage is ongoing? When there is no break in the abusive actions?
I learned to trust in my relationship with God, and take one day at a time.
---lynet on 5/27/07

Trust those who trust you, based upon your relationship with them, (and trust God by default since He has never done anything to earn our distrust,) that way if they break that trust you will be faultless in the matter and will have known that you could have done nothing more to protect yourself.
---Anthony on 5/26/07

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I agree with Linda. To forget that something has even happened is not required of us. To forgive, meaning to not retaliate or hold it agianst the person is what is required. I'd be interested in seeing any Scripture that supports us having to lose our actual memories about an evil commited against us. Having a difficult time trusting people after they have wronged you is a very normal reaction.
---john on 5/26/07

Tuscany is so wrong on this. Forgiveness does not equate with forgetting. We will remember pain, especially from our childhoods. The key about forgiveness, and the grace of God, is that God teaches us to use what happened to us in our childhood to minister His love and grace to others who suffer similar hurts. This is scriptural. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
---Madison1101 on 5/26/07

Forgiveness can be very hard without the help of God. Tragic things have happened to people over the years but the good news is with the help of God we can overcome them in time,
---anonymous on 5/26/07

Melissa, we aren't told to forget anything. We choose not to remember, to not put back together those events. When thoughts of the abuse come, cast them down and bring them into the obedience of Christ (obedience to death). Then apply Phillipians 4:8. The new creation in Christ has a new mind available and that mind is set on things above.
---Linda on 5/26/07

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As you learn to bring His death to remembrance instead of what happened to you, you will find that opening your heart to others isn't so hard after all. The heart of Christ was open to us all while we were still enemies. What Father has made you is who you are, not what an event has brought about.
---Linda on 5/26/07

I know exactly how you feel
---tom2 on 5/26/07

if you forgive, naturally, you will forget(that means it it will not affect your mind).
if you could not forget, that forgive is not the true forgive.
---dsda on 5/26/07

Forgiveness is forgetting.
What you have described is not forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not feelings. It is a choice, decision to set your will to forgive. Take the forgiveness quiz, it will help you.
The reason you feel flat, is because you have not forgiven.
Forgiveness will set you free of all that.
Unforgiveness will hinder your lovewalk, it leaves you guarded, untrusting, and flat.
---Tuscany on 5/26/07

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I can give you many examples of forgiveness in the Bible, but the greatest example is Jesus. Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.
Two of my best friends revealed forgiveness to me by example. They pastor a small church in a white community and they are African Americans. 'Diana' taught me that forgiveness is a choice. We have to set our wills to forgive, and you cannot be moved by your feelings.
---Tuscany on 5/26/07

Diana told me that everyday she had an opportunity to live with unforgiveness and let it destroy her; or she could SET HER WILL TO FORGIVE. It is an act of your will to forgive. When you lay unforgiveness at the foot of the cross, don't pick it back up. Leave it there. Let Jesus be the protector of your heart. Healing will come.
It will take setting your will like flint. You will have to choose to unmoved by the past/present hurts that people sling our way.
---Tuscany on 5/26/07

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