Forgiving and Forgetting

They will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.
– Jeremiah 31:34

God doesn’t forget anything. He couldn’t be God if He could forget. He forgives our sins, not forgetting that they ever happened, but in spite of the fact that they did happen. He then relates to us on the basis of forgiveness rather than our sinfulness.

How often have we told ourselves that we could forgive someone who wronged us, but we could never forget the offense? We may even have tried to forget what happened, but our efforts failed. The fact that the deed comes to our minds is not necessarily a problem.

First, if we remember these events in pain, perhaps forgiveness has not yet occurred. The problem is not that we remember but that the memory makes us bitter and angry. That’s a warning to us that forgiveness must take place so that we can be released from the bondage of these feelings.

Second, God could be using these memories for a purpose. For example, the apostle Paul remembered when he was a blasphemer and a persecutor of the church (see 1 Timothy 1:12-14). He knew God wanted to use those memories in his ministry to others.

If God has allowed you to go through some painful experiences, and if you have forgiven the person but still have the memories, God wants to use that event for your growth and His glory.