Sunday, February 24, 2008
A friend has been drinking. Foolishly we get into the car with him, and he has an accident in which we are hurt. We eventually forgive our friend for his share of the responsibility in the accident. Another day comes when our friend is drinking again. He insists that we get in the car with him. Remembering our past injury, we refuse. But because we have not forgotten, our friend insists that we have not truly forgiven at all. In fact, we have forgiven. But, we have also learned from our painful past experience, and choose not to repeat it.
Suppose one has forgiven an injury and experienced reconciliation with the injurer--a process of two distinct stages. In such situations, it is not helpful to repeatedly bring our remembrance of the injury into the relationship. Discretion and a willingness to let the past be the past are called for, for the sake of the relationship--call this a type of "forgetting" if you will.