The WiseCat

Tina Lamsback

Dear WiseCat,

I was talking to my friend the other day, and we got into a debate about forgiveness and forgetting. I argued that forgiving someone is the same thing as forgetting, whereas she saidthat it was completely different. Do you have any thoughts on this subject?


To Forgive and Forget

Dear To Forgive and Forget,

Forgiveness is connected to the heart, and forgetting is connected to the mind, so why do we feel it easier to forgive than to forget? Or do we only think that we give in to one, the other or both? Do we create this façade of forgiving and forgetting that never really occurs? It takes a big person to forgive and an even bigger person to forget.

To forgive. What does it really mean to forgive someone? Does a person really work through what is going on in order to forgive someone? Society makes it clear that people tend to forgive because it is the easier thing to do in life. They let things roll off their back because it is easier.

Since when do we choose the easier route? We were never taught as children to do that, so why should we start throwing around forgiveness like it is an old sock?

I’m not saying you should never forgive someone and continuously hold a grudge; I’m just saying that there is no way that one can forgive but not forget. In other words, if you don’t forgive someone, you will not forget. Also, if you do forgive, you should then forget.

But, is that really ever the case? I doubt it; therefore you never really were forgiving that person, now were you?

To forget. Humans have this instinct, this inclination that forgetting something that has happened to them is just not in their nature. Now, I suppose that is a good thing. The idea of forgetting could also be tagged on to the idea that people dwell on a situation or an instance that has occurred. This is normal.

In the end, it just doesn’t seem logical for forgiving and forgetting not to go hand-in-hand. If you forgive someone with your heart, then in reality you should forget that the offense ever happened. However, I’m assuming that at some point this situation, issue or small blip made a mark in your mind. In that case, how could you forget it ever happened?

There really is no time when someone can forgive and forget. They go together; just don’t make it bigger than it already is. So, in the end, let your mind guide your heart and make the decision whether forgiving and forgetting are synonymous with you.