You’ve all heard the old adage, “forgive and forget.” How quaint. How passive-aggressive. I’m all for forgiveness. I’ve forgiven many people who didn’t really deserve it. But forget?
I was the child victim of a ruthless cult leader. He was a real slave-driving, young-girl-raping jerk. I escaped his grasp when I was 16. But I really didn’t escape his psychological grasp until I was in my late 20s. That’s when I forgave him, whether he knew it or not. You can learn more about my forgiveness story in my book, A Train Called Forgiveness.
So I forgave the cult leader. But did I forget? I’d be a fool to forget what that cult leader did to me and others.
Here’s another example: My daughter and I had some trouble with a school principal and later the school district. Can I forgive? Sure. Will I forget? No. To forgive and forget might be the dumbest saying I’ve heard. I discovered corruption in the highest levels of our school district. I would have never thought that possible. Now, I’ll never forget that that isn’t possible.
Do you think the cult leader of my youth changed? Of course not. He lived out the rest of his life being a narcissistic manipulator because that’s who he was. Do you think the principal that treated my kid like crap will never treat another kid that way? Unlikely.
So when people have proven themselves to be hurtful, forgiveness is one thing, but forgetting should be out of the equation. If I were to just forget the harm done by the cult leader of my youth, I set myself up to be hurt in that same way again. I become gullible and vulnerable. By remembering, I ready myself to be a warrior when I need to be. – dse
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