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Six Things Not to Forget after You Forgive

Updated on June 11, 2017
MsDora profile image

MsDora, former teacher and Certified Christian Counselor, explores attitudes and actions that can help us maintain our mental well-being.

What exactly are we supposed to forget after we forgive? The offender may be our former boss. The offense may be the dishonorable review which caused our dismissal. We will probably remember the offender and the offense while searching for a new job; but forgiveness numbs our anger and our hurt.

In any scenario, forgiveness disables the memory of the past to incite negative emotions in us.

While we may struggle to prevent the anger and hurt from surfacing after the forgiveness, we don’t want to forget the positive effects of forgiveness which can empower us to become stronger and wiser. Therefore, we intentionally select new healing thoughts to replace the destructive ones which come with the old memory.

"We don't want to forget the positive effects of forgiveness."

Photo by Circe Denyer
Photo by Circe Denyer | Source

This is how it works in three compact steps:

  • We sift through the offense (betrayal, disappointment, humiliation et cetera), while accepting the reality that it happened.
  • We forgive ourselves for our contribution to the dilemma and we forgive the offender. (Forgiveness may not be immediate, but the sooner, the better).
  • We decide that instead of harboring the old hurt when the memory surfaces, we will choose to focus on picker-upper facts like the following six.


(1) The Good Side

There is a good side to every situation - David Joseph Schwartz

Do not forget that the good side may be beyond our present vision. We may have to search for it, but be convinced that it exists.

There is a story about a Canaanite young man named Joseph, who was sold to Egyptian merchants by his jealous brothers. He forgave his offenders and in his search for the good side, his honesty and productivity made him become the second most powerful man in Egypt, next to the Pharaoh.

Years passed. Famine struck Canaan, and Joseph’s brothers journeyed to Egypt to buy food, Joseph arranged for them to obtain as much as they wanted, and was happy to let them know, “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good.” Who could have guessed that the good side had benefits for both the offended and the offenders?

Eighteenth Century Painting of Joseph and His Brothers

Artist: Willem de Poorter
Artist: Willem de Poorter | Source

(2) The Lessons Learned

Don't take it as time wasted. Take it as a lesson learned. - Annisah Smith

Do not forget that there are lessons to be learned from adverse circumstances; and that the lessons count toward our education for life.

  • Have we learned the consequences of ignoring red flags that were waving at us?
  • Have we learned the value of establishing moral limits around every kind of relationship?
  • Have we learned not to joke about issues that other people consider serious?

These are the kinds of lessons to list under our experience résumé. They come in handy when similar situations threaten our stability on future jobs and in future relationships. Lessons learned enable us to thank offenders for helping us to grow.


(3) The Truth about Us

If evil be spoken of you and it be true, correct yourself; if it be a lie, laugh at it. - Epictetus

What is Our Posture When We Forgive?

Photo by Darryl E Berry Jr
Photo by Darryl E Berry Jr | Source

Do not forget that one day it will be our turn to seek forgiveness. Therefore, it is important to not only say that we forgive; but also to demonstrate the spirit of forgiveness.

Do we walk away haughtily after we forgive? Or, do we seem humble and reflective, recognizing that we also have flaws?

When we forgive the faults of others, it is not because we are perfect, but because, among other things, we believe that offering forgiveness will result in it being offered to us. We have been guilty of lying, cheating, gossiping, ridiculing and other character flaws. When we accept our guilt, we cannot help but show kindness and understanding to other guilty people.

Forgiveness is a way of saying “I understand because I can relate to your imperfection." We also hope that other people will be as understanding when they see our short comings.


(4) The Reason We Forgive

Forgive all who have offended you, not for them, but for yourself. - Harriet Nelson

Do not forget that we get the greater benefit when we forgive our offenders. Nothing is more precious than peace of mind. Forgiveness removes obstacles like resentment and hate which threaten the flow of positive energy through our minds and bodies. It turns offenders and offenses into stepping stones on our way to maturity and wisdom.

Forgiveness gives us the control. We have the freedom to flip through the channels which remind us of our hurt, and settle at those which show power emerging from pain. We are free to watch and try strengthening exercises and to laugh out loud when we see our progress. We are free to focus on whatever helps us heal.

Do not forget that we have the power; we do not have to be victims.


(5) A Second Chance

Sometimes goodbye is a second chance. - Shinedown

Don’t forget that forgiveness offers the opportunity for a second chance. Sometimes, in the calm that comes with forgiveness, both the offender and the offended share the responsibility for the offense and agree to begin again. When that happens, forgiveness keeps the mistakes of the past from interfering with the possibilities of the future.

At other times, one or both of individuals may choose to say goodbye. We sense a brighter future with different people on a different path. The separation may hurt and we may fret with ourselves because we did not prevent it; but the sooner we accept it, the sooner the good side comes into view. We are free to start over as many times as we desire.


(6) The Choice to Move On

When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future. - Bernard Meltzer

Moving on after Forgiveness

Do not forget that after forgiveness—letting go of the old hurt, and refusing to blame ourselves and anyone else—healing and renewal become our priority. We move on.

In 1995, Azim Khamisa lost his twenty-year old son to a bullet from fourteen-year old Tony Hicks. Five years later, Khamisa met his son’s killer. In his CBS interview, the father said that he expected to see a killer in Hicks, but instead he saw a soul very much like his own. Khamisa has employed Ples Felix, Tony’s grandfather to work at the foundation he started in the name of his son. He also corresponds with Tony Hicks and has become a surrogate father who promises to be there when the prisoner is paroled in 2027.

Khamisa’s philosophy is that having rescued Tony Hicks with his love, he has given Tony the tools to rescue many others. What an amazing result of forgiveness and moving on!

© 2016 Dora Weithers

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    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 19 months ago from The Caribbean

      Shauna, it is also difficult to know beforehand how you will respond to an offender; there are so many variables. Also, time by itself doesn't heal the wound; we have to intentionally work at the healing. Thank you so much for your valuable input.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 19 months ago from Central Florida

      Beautiful hub, Dora. Forgiving isn't always easy. Sometimes, time has to go by to heal the wounds before we're able to forgive. In the case of the man you feature at the end of this post, I don't know if I'd be able to forgive someone who killed my son, or anyone I love for that matter. Hopefully, I'll never have to find out.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Nell, it's all good if you take your time to forgive. You may remember the offender and the offense but what you want to forget is the hurt; you cannot carry that forever.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 20 months ago from England

      If I I do something wrong I do tend to admit to it straight away, and apologise, but I am not very good at forgiving, I think I said this before on another hub I tend to be a bit like an elephant! I never forget, but thats something I am working on, wonderful hub as always, nell

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Deb, thanks for your affirmation. The past does hold us in a place that no longer benefits us; forgiveness pushes us into a better future.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 20 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      You definitely speak the truth here. For some people, it is better to forget the past and look forward to the future, as there will be additional lessons to build upon, in order to make one a better individual.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks,Flourish. One thing not to forget is that one day the tables will turn and the offended now will be the one seeking forgiveness.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 20 months ago from USA

      Especially when you have wronged someone important to you, it is key to try to seek their forgiveness. Do it without delay. Many people do not know the correct way to apologize, instead offering wimpy excuses for apologies such as, "I'm sorry IF I made you upset." I appreciated your advice.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Well said, Theresa. Put another ways, when we accept God's forgiveness for ourselves, then we can pass it on. Thanks for your contribution.

    • Theresa Jonathan profile image

      Theresa Jonathan 20 months ago from Maseru, Lesotho

      We all struggle to forgive ourselves for various reasons. The truth is, we cannot give what we do not have. Forgiving is giving love, this is why we have to learn to forgive ourselves too so that we can give because we have love and compassion for others.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Shanmarie, don't forget that you're only human and that you deserve forgiveness no less than the other people you forgive so easily. Forgiving yourself is really accepting that God has forgiven you.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Sukhneet, you're very kind. Thanks for being so encouraging.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 20 months ago

      I can forgive others so easily, but I tend to take much longer to forgive myself for things, especially those things that result in the end of a relationship important to me. The points you bring up here are spot on, though.

    • sukhneet profile image

      Sukhneet Kaur Bhatti 20 months ago from India

      Very well-written and heart touching

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for your feedback, Janelle. We hear so much about forgetting which does not really happen, but there are many things worth remembering.

    • Janellegems profile image

      Janellegems 20 months ago from United States

      This is a very interesting and unique Hub. MsDora, You have addressed an important,needed topic, forgiveness and shared some very vital points and lessons in what not to forget after we forgive.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Faith thanks for all the important points you add to the topic. We cannot too much about forgiveness!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 20 months ago from southern USA

      Important topic here and you've done a stellar job in covering the overall effects of forgiveness, MsDora. Yes, this is a tough one, but to make amends or forgive as soon as possible, as God tells us, is a must.

      When we hold onto that unforgiveness, it can literraly make us physically sick. In His Word, as you know, it tells us it can rot us to our bones!

      Although we forgive, it doesn't mean we automatically are able trust that person as that takes time. I know that is hard for the offender to understand.

      Blessings

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks Rajan, for your affirming input. I appreciate you.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 20 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      So many lessons for us in here. I believe the point 3 and 4 to be the most important ones for forgiving others. We all are imperfect and need peace of mind and forgiving others is so satisfying and peaceful.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, thanks for the double blessing! "The only one who suffers from unforgiveness is the unforgiving one." Perhaps you needed to stress that.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, preach away! Glad to write something you can use; and when you don't preach it, share the link anyway. Thanks for your encouragement.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Jodah, thanks for your kind comment. Great that you're being a good example to your wife; hope that eventually she'll learn because it is a learning experience. Best to both of you!

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 20 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Another job well done, Dora! Another very practical and helpful hub! The hard part may be for many living it out. I've been there- done that, and those were the most miserable days of my life. The only one who suffers from unforgiveness is the unforgiving one. Thanks for writing on this much needed topic.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 20 months ago from london

      I don't always respond, but I read and re-read nearly all my and others comments. I note your kindness here, Dee and I do appreciate same. Love as always.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 20 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Well Dora, another masterpiece. You give us so much to better our lives. I wonder , do we take advantage of it? If not, it sure isn't your fault. I may use some of these ideas some Sunday morning if that's okay with you. Have a great weekend!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 20 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you for this wonderful hub, Ms Dora. It has such an important message for us all. Fortunately, I am good at forgiving people. I don't forget what was done, but do forgive, My wife, however, has things and people in her past that she can never forgive. Great reference from the Bible, though. I love Joseph's story.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      RTalloni, thanks for your encouraging comment. Thanks also for the book referral; I will follow it up.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 20 months ago from the short journey

      Rare would be the person who finds that this topic does not strike a chord in their heart and mind. The perspective you offer could be very helpful to many. One of the most beneficial books covering the topic comes from Chris Brauns, titled Unpacking Forgiveness. It offers amazing help to those who suffer from serious injury by others.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Theresa, thanks for your input. Every sentence in your comment is a vital addition to the topic. I appreciate you.

    • Theresa Jonathan profile image

      Theresa Jonathan 20 months ago from Maseru, Lesotho

      A very good subject indeed MsDora! Adults struggle with forgiveness; children do this easily hence Jesus remark that we have to learn from them. Keeping negative energy is harmful and will surely harm one who does not forgive. It is hard when the offense has a scar to remind one. Forgiveness indicates spiritual maturity and it is long learning process which will transcend our graves.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Mary, thank you for sharing from your experience. It helps when a reader validates the lesson with personal affirmation.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Word, it's true that the peace of mind resulting from forgiveness is worth the effort. Thanks for your input.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks Manatita, for your contribution to the topic. Your devotional prayers for forgiveness show in your loving, peaceful nature. You're a treasure.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 20 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Dora,

      This hub rings true with me. It took me a long time to forgive and move on with my life.

      Now when I see this in other people, I try to encourage them to forgive, to release themselves from that prison. I think many find it difficult and feel safe in 'blame mode'. It can almost be like a crutch for people.

      I truly feel sorry for those who can't see their way to forgiveness.

    • word55 profile image

      Word 20 months ago from Chicago

      Hi Dora, This hub was very well articulated. To forgive is to allow the forgiver to become freer. We learn lessons in life via various experiences, people whom we come in contact with people that we don't come in contact with. It is to a forgiver's benefit to forgive another no matter what the situation is in order to move on without bearing the weight of pain and sorrow any longer. It seems that when you forgive a person for doing you wrong then the offender is left with guilt and remorse sooner or later. Anyway, thanks Dora.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 20 months ago from london

      Short, sweet and meaningful. One of the most powerful messages of our Lord. Indeed, it is for our own good, yet alone anyone else. You ended well, and I commend this beautiful story. True forgiveness touches the Heart and is very vast and pretty effective.

      In our Path, the Invocation is sung every day. This is nearly always followed by one of forgiveness, then one of Prayer. I have done this for 33 years! Higher blessings.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Tamarajo, what an important addition to the topic! Thanks for the illustration from your own experience and for the response from Jesus. I truly appreciate you!

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Denise, thanks for sharing from your own experience with such a beautiful attitude. Your contribution is very valuable.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Alicia. Forgiveness is an important topic, and it is a challenge to do justice to it. Only too happy to share what I can.

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 20 months ago

      A beautiful lesson Dora! I recall in my youth harboring much unforgiveness. I then lived my own life so irresponsibly that I ended up on the other end needing to be forgiven of so much more. The testimony of Azim and Tony is a wonderful exhibit of the humility that is required on either side.

      I like Jesus response to his offenders that I think is useful and has enabled me to let whatever occurs to be between that person and God and helps to let it go...

      "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;"

      I Peter 2:21-23 NKJV

      http://bible.com/114/1pe.2.21-23.NKJV

      Encouraging read

      God bless

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Frank, you're privileged to have the experience. Even if the good feeling was the only thing we received from forgiveness, that would be worth it. Thanks for your comment.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Eric, the last statement of your career is a classic. Thanks for your valuable input.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 20 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      This concept parallels my own experience having to walk away from my career as a School Psychologist. It took me quite a while to forgive those involved in the ending of my employment. Once I was able to do so, however, I found that there were lessons learned that I could not forget, and didn't want to forget. Because of those lessons, I am now nearly five years at my current employment. The best life lessons seem to come from the most difficult of circumstances!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 20 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a great hub containing very important information. Thank you for sharing such valuable advice, MsDora.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 20 months ago from Shelton

      the positive effect in forgiveness.. yeah I can feel the good when I forgive.. and hope others can feel the good when they forgive.. what a wonderful hub MsDora as always top shelf.. :) Frank

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 20 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      What a wonderful article. Timeless in it's wisdom. I think I will apply this today. Resentment is a horrible waste of the mind and soul.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Devika, I have found that we can forget the hurt, and remember the good side, the lessons et cetera. Thanks for your comment.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Chitrangada, nothing is more important than peace of mind. Thank you for sharing.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 20 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi MsDora You shared a beautiful and thoughtful hub. I forgive easily off-course its never easy to forget. Interesting lots to think about from this hub.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 20 months ago from New Delhi, India

      What a wonderful hub with words of wisdom; everyone must read and apply.

      You are so right in saying that forgiving someone means we have to move on and move ahead. We are all humans and we may do mistakes.

      I am glad that I am able to do that, that is forgive and forget. Because ultimately it is for my peace of mind.

      Thank you for this excellent hub!

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Jackie, it's a privilege to understand forgiveness as well as you do. Thank you for sharing.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Ron. I agree. Thanks for adding that emphasis on moving forward.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, that would be great. Still, it helps if the conscientious among us do the best they can. Thanks as always for your input.

    • MsDora profile image
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      Dora Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Hi Sally. That's a difficult situation when the wrong doer continues to offend; but you don't want to weary yourself by keeping score, so I suggest separating yourself without animosity and resentment. It's like watching a drunkard crossing the freeway; you have to let him go for your own safety, and you don't have to keep cursing him. When he sobers up and gets back on the sidewalk, you can choose to continue your conversation.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 20 months ago from The Beautiful South

      Really great subject Dora and I am so glad I learned to forgive at an early age. It really is so good for us and frees us up of stress and tensions being made and hurt by people. I think I managed it to start with putting myself in the offenders shoes as to why they acted as they did and it was so much easier. I mean someone hurt or offended them and rather than forgive they became bitter and took it out on others.

      Forgiving is so much better for us than to not.

      Shared!

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 20 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      These are all great points, MsDora. I especially identify with your last - the choice to move on is necessarily also the choice to forgive. Failure to forgive holds you in bondage to the past.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Such a wonderful lesson. How wonderful would life be if the majority among us practiced this? Well done, Dora!

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 20 months ago from Norfolk

      Ms Dora

      Oh that word, forgiveness, such a difficult one for me! I do wonder sometimes, what happens when the wrong doer continues with his or her wrong deeds? Those words 'I forgive you' hang heavy on, such empty words which resonate whilst the perpetrator continues with his or her dastardly deeds.