Bible reading plan Bible reading plan

Forgive & Forget

12 November 2023

'Let it go' spelt out with wooden scrabble letters

This phrase “forgive and forget” is often used as a throwaway comment in everyday conversation, whether it’s a childish falling out, a sporting rivalry or a political disagreement.  The opposing sides are told to “kiss and make up”, “let bygones be bygones” or to “forgive and forget.”


It’s an easy thing to say, but not always so easy to do.  The Cambridge Dictionary defines to forgive and forget as to completely stop blaming or being angry with someone for something they have done, and to stop thinking about it.  Another dictionary definition says to both pardon and hold no resentment concerning a past event.


Isn’t God our perfect example of how to forgive and forget?


As we read about His horrific torture and crucifixion in Luke 23, Jesus is still able to ask ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ (Luke 23:34 NIVUK)  Through all His suffering, pain and humiliation, Jesus was, thankfully for us, full of forgiveness and love.


God’s mercy and forgiveness doesn’t just mean that once we repent our sins are forgiven, but they are completely forgotten, wiped clean, as if they never happened.  Praise God!


Crucially, once this has happened, our past sins don’t affect our future relationship with Him!


There are two ways we can apply this to our lives, because as Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:14-15, if we want God to forgive us, we must forgive others in the same way.  That means forgetting too!


So, our first application is to forgive and forget others’ “sins” against us - that could be a disagreement, a betrayal, a lie - and then not let the past affect the future.


Secondly, once we are forgiven by God and our past sins are forgotten by Him, we must forgive ourselves and not let our past affect our future.


In both applications, often the forgiving part can be accomplished, but for many people, the forgetting isn’t always so easy.  Not forgetting the hurt someone caused us can lead to bitterness and resentment.  Not forgetting our own past wrongdoings can lead to guilt and self-recrimination.


We are called to be Christ-like, so if Jesus forgave those who crucified Him, we can forgive!  If our loving and merciful heavenly Father forgets our sins ever happened after we repent, we can too!


Be encouraged!  As children of God, we are forgiven and He has completely forgotten our past sins!

Photo of Tracy Smith

Tracy Smith
Liverpool Team & Finance Manager
GoChurch Liverpool