“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).
Does that mean our being forgiven by God is contingent upon us forgiving those who have sinned against us?
Jesus says, in the next sentence, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:13-15).
When God forgives us our sins, he tells us that he has removed the sin so far away from us that it is as if they had never happened. We are told, “As far as the East is from the West so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). God is able to forgive and forget.
But for us, when it comes to forgiving those who have sinned against us, it doesn’t quite work that way. We are commanded to forgive, but we have a very difficult time forgetting. The scars are there. Whenever someone touches the scar, we are reminded of the pain all over again.
So what do we do with that? How can we forgive when it’s difficult to forget? That’s a great question.
Don’t weaponize the memory.
What I mean by that is that when someone hurts us, the memory is stored in such a way that when they hurt us again, we bring that right back up to hurt them back.
When we forgive someone, we are refusing to weaponize such memories. We are refusing to use past memories to harm and damage another. We are choosing to let go of the power to use past memories as a weapon against another. That’s forgiveness.