Is it possible to truly forgive and forget the wrong that someone does to us?
How do I forgive the drunk driver that ran my kid over and killed him? Even if I do forgive him, can i ever forget his face? Will the scars ever heal?
How do I forgive the woman that accused me of killing his son, when all I did was try to save him by rushing him to the hospital? How was I supposed to know he would die? If I do forgive her,what about the cold nights I spent in the prison? What about the torture, humiliation, the stigma of being an ex-convict, would i be able to forget?
How do I forgive my friend for setting me up to get victimised, while she got paid? Can I still forget and trust her again? Would she still be my friend after I forgive her?
When it comes to forgiveness,it’s a necessity that we must carry out or do. Mathew 6:14 -15 ” For if ye forgive men their tresspasses, your heavenly father will also forgive you, 15-” But if ye do not forgive others their sins, your heavenly father will not forgive your sins.”. Forgiveness is important, when we forgive, we set ourselves free. People’s definition of what forgiveness is, is quite different from what the scripture defines forgiveness as. If you ask randomly what forgiveness is, the answer you will get will vary. To some people, forgiveness is could be letting go of all the negative vibes and energy towards someone. To another, it could be finally speaking to someone they have not spoken to in a long time out of resentment, and so on, ect.
The scriptures definition of forgiveness can be seen in( Romans 5:8) “But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” Amazing isn’t it? Now, we know forgiveness is a must, but is it humanly possible to forget? My answer is NO. We can forgive but it’s not possible to forget. To every injury we incur on our body there is always a scar. The injury will heal with time,but most of the scars will last a life time. So it is with forgiving and forgetting, we can decide to forgive with time but we will never be able to forget because the human brain is not programmed like a computer system, where you press delete and all the files you don’t need get deleted. In most cases, the deleted files don’t leave the system entirely, they end up in the recycle bin and it requires you going there to permanently delete the files.
Some people say “yes you can forgive and forget, and I wonder how humanly possible that is. How do you get rid of the bitterness and rage that comes along when you are deeply hurt? The only way to get rid of all that is to follow what Ephesians 4:31&32 says ” Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice” 32″ And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”. You won’t be able to forget but when you forgive it makes it easier to see the person that offended you without rage, strive or bitterness.
When people keeps bringing up your offense before you, does it mean they never forgave you? No, it simply means they have not forgotten what you did. It’s possible they have forgiven you but the scars are yet to heal, thereby making it impossible for them to forget.
Only God has the ability to forgive and forget, Psalms 103:12 ” As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us”
When we truly forgive others as Christ forgave us, then we will learn to be kind to one another, and when we are kind to one another, it becomes much easier to relate with those that offended us without hastily and constantly reminding them of their wrongs all the time. Ephesians 4:32.
Forgiveness is a decision and we must continually make conscious effort to obey God and forgive. The people who wronged us may not desire or deserve our forgiveness and may never ever change, but that shouldn’t stop us from setting ourselves free, and improving our mental health.
Like I said earlier, it is impossible to truly forget sins or wrongs that have been committed against us. We cannot selectively “delete” events from our memory just like the computer system.
Forgiveness is quite different from trust, things may never be the same again between us and those that offended us or those we offended. The trust has to be earned and often times the relationship will need to be rebuilt again.
The ideal thing is to forgive and ask God to give us the grace to forget by giving us a heart like His…This should be our Desire constantly.
Forgiven people… Forgive people- Max Lucado

Whitney Edna Ibe is the Executive Consultant, Life & Mental Health Coach, and Writer/ Editor at Whitney Edna Ibe Consult (Blog),, The Social Talks,, and Mental Wellness Society International. She is in charge of consultations, services, and implementation.

65 Thoughts on “To Forgive & To Forget…..Is It Possible?”

  • Great post. I do believe it is possible to forgive or the Lord would not tell us to do that. It is not easy at all but necessary if we are to be free of bitterness and anger. I find if I don’t forgive I am not free to be who God wants me to be.
    Forgetting, I don’t think so. I am not sure the bible even tells us to forget…only to forgive. The Bible does tell us to be discerning and sometimes to be discerning means remembering so as not to let “stuff” happen again.
    Matthew 10:16 – Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

    • Yes Ma’am it’s not easy to forgive and it is most definitely not possible to forget. I have tried to forget some of the wrongs done to me but found out that I was struggling and thought it wise to write on the topic. I needed to know if it’s just me or if there was some one out there going through the same thing. Thank you Ma’am, for sharing with us. It’s always a pleasure to have you around.

      • I find that when I remember things that have happened to me I try to make sure I do not put myself in a situation that would make it possible for it to happen again. This isn’t always possible but it is good to be discerning. If we don’t forget it can also be a life lesson for those around us if we let it.
        Your writing testifies to that. By letting us in on those struggles you help us. If you would have forgotten and moved on, we would not be blessed by it.
        I love how God uses everything in our lives for His glory.

  • It is very hard to forget things that happened, but I try to forgive, no matter what happens, and just try and keep on smiling through it. I know that might sound cheesy, and might seem very hard, but past the tears and past the agony is hope.

  • While I essentially agree with you, I have a thought from a person who helps people recover from abuse. This is a summary of what she shared with me concerning forgiveness:
    Forgiveness is completely the survivor’s choice. Some move forward with forgiveness, others move forward without. That is not to say they hold onto resentment to the extent of it interfering with their quality of life, but that they use their legitimate anger as a way to reconnect to the reality of the abuse and disconnect from the abuser.
    For someone, forgiveness may feel great. For another, it feels wrong, inauthentic and retraumatizing. One cannot assume what feels best to the survivor, especially one of sexual abuse or the most horrific circumstances.
    In addition, most abusers show little to no remorse for what they’ve done. Survivors can still lead peaceful lives knowing that they did not choose to forgive someone who had no issue in destroying their lives.
    Victims are robbed of their choices for so long, the choice to not forgive can feel empowering for them personally. Because for many victims, what their abusers did was unforgivable.
    Self-compassion, more so than forgiveness, is necessary to healing.
    What do you think?

    • There would be no self compassion without forgiveness. Forgiveness gives you the basis to have empathy of any sort for the person who offended you, or for the person you offended or even for another victim. If there is no forgiveness there would be no love.
      Yes, I agree that some people don’t deserve forgiveness while some people do but they are so proud to ask for it and some ask for it but don’t ever get to receive because of the gravity of the offense they committed.
      I don’t think we will find peace with ourselves until we decide to let go of every burden that weighs us down. When people say they have moved on and so whether they forgive or not is inconsequential, I find that really hard to believe. Why? Cos you can’t negate the tension, anxiety, anger, suppressed emotions you will feel each time you see the one that offended you. You may pretend to be ok or even fake a smile but the truth is you just can’t be yourself around them cos you are yet to forgive the person. When they are faced with the opportunity to revenge and they don’t maybe I will believe.
      Scripturally, we can not change God’s word. They may not be appealing but they are life and they are truth. If we choose not to Forgive and walk away saying we don’t need to, let’s not forget that our heavenly father as well will not listen to us either. Mathew 6:12. Forgiveness has never felt great when doing but after doing it you get to feel the greatness. It is the most difficult thing to do but it becomes easier when we let Jesus into our hearts. He alone can help us heal and give us the grace to Forgive those that wronged us.
      This is my humble opinion. Thank you for sharing this with us. Am glad you dropped by.

      • I am really glad for the way you broke this down. This is because the question often asked is whether we should forgive when the offender is not repentant or remorseful. When we forgive, we are doing ourselves a favor, and not necessarily the offender.

      • Truly, we can only forgive because we’ve been forgiven all our sins. Our Good Good Father leads us into his way and life and letting him do so gives us freedom, hope, joy, and healing.
        I believe the point the person was making is, a survivor shouldn’t be pressured to forgive because that can be like another abuse. Also, pushing someone to forgive can come from a place of wanting to just make things go away: ‘he said he was sorry for hurting you so why don’t you forgive him so things can get back to normal.’
        I think building a bridge between the two positions best helps a survivor – encouraging them to explore the blessings of forgiveness but only as they are ready to do so.

  • I don’t know. I personally think these two go hand in hand. To forgive means letting go of your anger. Someone who brings up past mistakes, yes, they have not forgotten, but they have not let it go either. Depending on the situation, bringing up past mistakes can be counter productive and only takes the relationship two steps backwards.

  • I think to forget, does not literally mean to erase it from your memory. I think it means to let it all of it, the feelings and emotions. Forgetting means starting on a clean slate without stepping back into the past. Screw me once, Shame on you. Screw me a second time. Shame on me. If it happens a second time, it means you didn’t learn the first time.

  • I loved this. It really hit home. I actually cried a little, but they were tears of joy. I have had to forgive a lot of people. I had to forgive a man yesterday who was rude to me. But I’ve forgiven them for me so I can move on with my life. I’ve lost a lot in my life, but I have gained so much more than I expected. Forgiveness is a powerful tool. I wish more people would forgive. If they only knew the power behind it. Thanks for sharing.

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  • “Forgive” – A must lest God won’t forgive you of your transgressions too. “Forget” – Ofcourse you would not forgive if there’s no grace to forget injustice you faced.
    However, someone can bring you to remember the harm he nor she has done in the past once there’s a repeat performance.

    • Thank you Wale, we can try to let go but each there is a repeat of the incidence you are trying to let go, you quickly remember again. We never truly Forget.
      Am glad you shared with us.

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