Many times people are quick to say, “Forgive and forget” to depict how Christians are expected to forgive. I have seen many people open up the same source of hurt over and over again because ‘forgive and forget’.
But the question is how biblical is this?
The bible is very loud and clear on forgiveness. Matthew 6:14-15, Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:31-32 and other verses talk about how we ought to forgive others as believers.
The first question that comes up with forgiveness is: when is it enough?
Like me, Jesus’ disciples had asked this question and Jesus said to them in Matthew 18:21-22, “…Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times…”
I don’t know of someone who is going to offend up this many times. Still, Jesus was saying that we should keep forgiving and forgiving.
Biblical Forgiveness implies that you treat the person as though he’s never done wrong. Just like Jesus does with us.
Biblical Forgiveness implies that you treat the person as though he’s never done wrong. Just like Jesus does with us.Biblical Forgiveness implies that you treat the person as though he's never done wrong. Just like Jesus does with us. Click To Tweet
This brings me to the second question which is the main question, “Do we forgive and forget?“
There is nowhere in the bible that states this. In fact what we see in the bible is interesting. A man, David had been wronged so many times by King Saul. He forgave him and didn’t hold it against him. In fact, when David had the chance to kill him and make a mockery of him, he didn’t do it. However, David maintained a safe distance from Saul. After many attempts at his life, he didn’t give King Saul the space to hurt him again. He removed himself from the abusive relationship he had with King Saul, leaving the rest to God.
This didn’t mean he wasn’t forgiving. He forgave but also guarded himself.
When someone does hurt you, it is possible to become better and not bitter over the matter and the person. However, the responsibility lies on you to be wise and discerning to prevent a recurrence.The command is to love, to relate is by choice Click To Tweet
We are responsible for safeguarding yourselves – body, soul and spirit as God has instructed us. Hence, we must exercise caution with who we open ourselves up to.
In summary, forgive over and over and over again. Forgive as God forgave you, He made provision for all the sins you’ll ever have, and His arms are always open to embrace you even after you’ve wronged him.
What do you do in the case of an abusive relationship?
You don’t have to remain in an abusive relationship but you still always have to extend the invitation to reconciliation. The believer looks for every avenue to reconcile.
So in a scenario where you’re being hurt…You should tell the person, basically just follow the steps Jesus mentioned in Matthew 18:15-17
15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
But do not feel obliged to remain in abusive, hurtful relationships where you can get hurt over and over again.