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Someone I know frequently says "a healthy mind forgets". Does a healthy mind forget? We know it is healthy to forgive. Is it also also healthy to forget? For example, I somehow forget the hurtful actions of another who will repeat those actions. I got back into that situation and go through the same thing all over again. What's healthy about that. On another level this could be a way to avoid negative consequences when a duty or commitment is missed. "Sorry, I missed doing that. My healthy mind forgot." Your thoughts?

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Lisa,

I do believe it's healthy to forget because when I think of how God forgives us, He says that He throws it as far as to the east as to the west and remembers it no more. This is powerful because as Christians we tend to hold grudges, which the Bible calls unforgiveness and bitterness. That is unhealthy. When we forgive that is a conscious decision of our own. Now I believe the only way that we are able to forget and be healthy is through casting our cares on Jesus and allowing Him to bring the restoration. The way I look at Christ is that He is our Great Physician that brings the healing of not just physical ailments but also of the hurtful words and actions that people do on a daily basis. Like you said it's not like putting yourself back into the boxing ring to get hit some more, but we are taking ourselves out of that condition and atmosphere. When we do this is when I believe we are truly operating in the love of Christ. Thank you Lisa for bringing this to the surface. It gives us something to ponder on and think of, what would Jesus do?
Hi Dan and Lisa,
I cannot say whether or not a healthy mind forgets, but I'd suggest the word "forgive" instead of "forget." Jesus wants us to become unoffendable and forgiving in Him. Picture yourself living so close to Him that when people lash out at you, they hit the Lord instead, but when you are at a distance from Him, you're basically on our own. Psalm 91 speaks of His Divine protection only when we purposefully dwell under His wings on the mercy seat of the Ark. Picture this analogy: You're hanging on the cross with the Lord, but as the lashes fall on you both, He bleeds and bears the injury and the pain, and you bear only a shadow of it (Psa. 23). Offenses abound in this world and they happen to us daily, but Jesus instructs that forgiveness (70 x 7) and love (I Cor. 13) and grace should abound even more. Love covers a multitude of sins. Forgiveness sets us free from the offense and takes away all the pain, even when we still remember. When the pain is gone from our feelings, we become completely detached from the deed, even though the memory of it should remain. What do you think?
Dave, I agree with you. I think that you may know why I posted this. Saying anything more will get me into trouble.
Lisa, you are so right!
I am featuring this conversation!
I understand what you are saying. It is interesting that forgetting our sins is only done by God. Some how he can do what we can't do, truly forget sins. Our minds won't let us just erase them. Every time someone reminds me of what I am supposed to forget I remember it again. That is why we are called to forgive. It is God's job to not only forgive, but also to forget
Jerry Hartman
Jerry, Thanks. I hadn't thought about it in relation to forgetting my own sins. Ussually when I hear the phrase it is being used to explain why someone has forgotten something or won't go there in conversation.
I've found that I have often forgotten the sins of others. God has blessed me by allowing me to not be inclined to hold grudges. It is very difficult to offend me, and if someone says something or sins against me, it will usually just roll off my shoulder and I won't think a second thought about it.

Holding grudges or replaying sins committed against us over and over in our minds can very negatively impact relationships, and does not help us to do what God wants us to do.... spread the gospel. How can I spread the gospel or witness to someone if I'm holding a grudge against them?

Now, this doesn't mean that if someone does something very bad to me I won't try to bring that sin to light to my brother so he can correct it, but I'm not going to let it negatively impact me or my relationship with him.
It seems to me most of us are saying the same thing using different expressions that make sense to our understanding. When the Scriptures say God "forgets" our sin, I think we may be misapplying the word to mean something it was not intended to communicate.
God does not Forget (Revelation tells us the books are opened) and the unrepentant are judged by them. At the Judgment seat of Christ our works will be “tried” by fire (1 Cor) – and this goes along with “whatever is not of faith is sin” (Rom 14)
God does not “forget”, but in the gift of Christ, the sin is paid for and no longer requires justice to be served. As humans we are incapable of paying for sin, our own or another’s. Our task is to take it to Christ where He justly judges, and either will make it right at the last judgment or pays for it when the sinner comes to Him.
We cannot “forget” because a healthy mind retains things even from childhood. A forgiving mind may remember the act, but forgiveness no longer holds the perpetrator (us or another) in bondage, for justice belongs to God alone.
I think when people talk about forgiving and forgeting it is more the emotional consequences, than the actual action. I think that God wants us to forgive our brother and forget the animosity instead of the sin. Like Dave said you have to become emotionally detached from the happening, but never lose knowledge that it happened. As far as the prevention of negative consequences goes, I live by the saying "To error is human, to forgive is divine".
There is a saying that goes, "Hurt me once and it's your fault; Hurt me twice and it's my fault."
There is a difference between forgiveness and forgetting.
People pay a lot of money to professionals to remember buried injustices so they can reach the point of forgiveness. It is very unhealthy to bury reality in the mind probably partly because a person can't be free of the effects without remembering and being aware of what is holding them back. So, I say remembering up front and dealing with it is most important. After it is acknowledged and dealt with head on, then forgiveness and forgetting can take place. Addressing the injustice is necessary so the other person can recognize his errors and have a chance to change. Burying it can be very unhealthy.
There are dangerous people in the world and sometimes getting away from them is healthy. Allowing them to continue to abuse is not.
Love affords us the ability to truly forgive....when we love, we do not count up wrongs or makes lists of what someone has done to us. Since love never counts up wrongs....and we can do nothing without love, is it possible to forgive without forgetting?
Paige, I do think it is possible to forgive without forgetting. I also think it is often impossible to forget. Forgiveness is a choice to let the hurt go, let the Lord deal with the other guy, to let go of our desire for revenge. It does not mean we forget the event. It does mean that we no longer make the problem a controlling factor in our lives. I have been released from personal anger issues only as I have chosen to forgive perceived wrongs from my childhood. I still remember those events clearly and desire not to repeat those mistakes with any youth I encounter (seems to be a learning process in responding rather than reacting). However, I no longer alow my life to be controlled by those hurts. Roberta, I had to unbury my true feelings regarding those events before I could forgive, move on and change.

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