To forgive does not mean to forget
(Reference scripture Matthew 26:31-35 & John 21:15-17)
The reference scripture is the story of Peter. In Matthew is when Jesus told Peter that He would deny Him, and in John is when Jesus told him to feed His sheep. This was after He set a somewhat similar environment to the one in Matthew. I knew about Matthew and the story of Peter, but got the opportunity to study the story of Peter and Jesus in John last year. It was through a sermon when the preacher referred to it, and so after much curiosity I went ahead to study that piece of scripture.
In the study I am doing on forgiveness, the author clearly states that forgiveness does not mean forgetfulness. When I read that part, I was genuinely so happy because this is something I kept asking myself how do I forgive and then act like nothing happened – and immediately I read this the above mentioned scriptures came to mind. Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him three times, and even after Jesus went ahead to ask Peter if he loves Him three times – and proceeded to give Him instructions that showed His heart of forgiveness. But in the second scenario, we see that in some way, Jesus was making reference to the first scenario, in a way He was letting us know through this scripture that “yes Peter I know you said you would not do it, even after Jesus told you would” and then Jesus continued to restore Him in the second scenario.
Jesus had obviously forgiven Peter, but I don’t think He forgot. This was such a revelation for me, and it made me appreciate the fact that I can forgive but I don’t have to forget. This means I create boundaries, I don’t put myself in a situation that may lead me to be hurt again – it calls me to be wise. This reality stresses the fact that forgiveness is really about me – the individual. To some extent, this made me open my heart more to working on a heart of forgiveness. I pray that it does the same to you!