It’s something we learn from the time we’re very young. Many Christian boys and girls are taught to apologize when wrong and forgive when someone apologizes. We’ve almost been indoctrinated with phrases such as “forgive and forget”  and “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

How do we move past a hurt? Easy! Forgive and forget. The truth is, it is easy to forgive and forget when you’re doing it wrong.

Forgive and Forget

The origin of this problematic and untrue method of grace has its origins as far back as Cervantes and Shakespeare–the 1600s.

We forgive with the understanding that it will help us forget, but this is not the case.

Forgiveness won’t help us forget the damage of generational trauma.

It won’t make us forgive a death, a loss, an injury.

Even when our minds convince us we’ve forgotten, our bodies remember. Our subconscious remembers.

Suppression is a valid mechanism of our brains to protect ourselves against trauma. However, that doesn’t make it fair or right. In fact, suppression is bad for our health.

So, forgive if you can. Forget even, if you can. But, if you remember, and it hurts, and you’re angry, here is a prayer for you:

A Prayer for the Unforgiving

Father in Heaven,
I know you don’t want me to live with pain even though pain seems to come with the territory.
Painful memories are sometimes just a reminder that I live in a world that needs You.
I know I need You, in my life and in this situation.
I’m having trouble forgiving, Lord, and if I do forgive–with Your help–I want to never forget it.
I never want to forget the change You’ll make in my heart to make this okay.
I never want to forget seeing them with Your eyes and not my own.
I never want to forget the grace You share with me so I can share with them.
I will never forget the power of forgiveness.
I will never forget how You forgave me, so surely I can forgive someone else.
O, God help me. In Jesus’ Name,