Forgive and Forget?

(This was written as a long string on my WhatsApp status, and would be finished up in an upcoming Newsletter to the PKH Tribe. Yup! That’s a prompt to subscribe if you haven’t already)

Forgive and forget? Let’s take a look at it

Christ commanded us to forgive …77 times 7. It is a definite requirement for a believer. and if love is your operating system (as I really hope it is), then you know that forgiveness is an important thing. You need to let things go so they don’t clog your heart.

However, what I am yet to see is His commandment to forget. (If you have, please point me to it. You can send me an email or leave it in the comment section)

Instead, what I see threaded throughout Scripture is a loving God, who forgives repeatedly, and blots out the memory of your wrongdoing, However, in the face of a repeated pattern of behavior, sets consequences and follows through His love, mercy and forgiveness is balanced with judgment
If He does not judge, He would not be just

That said, what does that mean for us as believers?

1. Love. Do not hold on to offences
2. Love. Love them enough to call them out if they stray/err/hurt you
3. Wisdom. Speak with them directly. Not gossip or back biting. Until you speak WITH the offender, you are in sin yourself (swipe up if you want to talk further on this)
4. Respect. Their wrong doing is not basis for slander, insults or disrespect
Don’t let what they do to you become the basis for your own character to change. Remain true to yourself AND to your heavenly Father

You see that last point? Here’s what it also translates to:


You owe it to
– them
– yourself
– your God
– the assignments and commitments He has placed in your care
to show up as the highest, untainted version of yourself possible, and guard against sabotage. So do what needs to be done to prevent future recurrence… Do what needs to be done to prevent future recurrence with or without their cooperation (it’s better if they’re in the loop though. We do not want to lose people and relationships, or punish them for what they did. That privilege belongs to their Creator)

Did you notice that we have just worked through “forgiveness”? Also, did you notice these things need to come from within, and are not forced, imposed, commanded or demanded?

Thank you. I just wanted to make sure you’re still following. Let’s move on.

We’ve talked about the forgiving. Now let’s get to the forgetting

Like I said at the start of this piece, I am yet to come across the Biblical injunction to forget

Of course, when we forgive, we let go of the hurt, but to “forget” would place us in the position
– to be repeatedly hurt (especially by hypocritical people, manipulators and psychopaths which are sadly very real inclusions in our society today)
– to be sabotaged in our work (sometimes your work, vision, assignment is destroyed or set back by the actions of a repeat offender)

It is a decision that leaves us vulnerable, and open to hurt, and to choose to do this on the heels of being hurt and broken trust is a huge emotional demand. It’s not something to be rushed, to be glossed over, or to be trivialized. If not properly done, can leave the person feeling resentful, cheated, and struggle even more with forgiveness, trust, and even esteem. This is not something to shame someone about if they’re not there YET, and I have often found that the more you try to force it, the harder it becomes to do, and the longer it takes. Vulnerability, as well as the decision to trust, is not ever something to be demanded or forced – but allowed to blossom and emerge. The one thing you can do to encourage the possibility is to show yourself worthy. (Not nagging, not guilt-tripping, and definitely not ambushing them with a gang of people who are able to silence them)

We have talked about boundaries (please remember to set and enforce them). But now, we come to the crux of the matter – the agents of “forgive and forget”

It’s good to preach “peace” and support reconciliation, but when you do it at the expense of the person who was hurt, what you are really doing is to promote impunity, encourage sin and support sabotage

(I came in peace, really)

Let’s break it down:
1. Preaching forgiveness without holding the offender accountable to whatever consequences are necessary/lawful/just, AND enforcing the boundaries that help ensure a repeat sends the subconscious message that they can get away with it – or worse, get away with ANYTHING
You teach the offender that they’re untouchable; you teach the hurt person that they don’t matter as the offender is more important than they are, and everyone watching (especially children) that that action has no consequence if they are on the “right”/powerful side

Gbam! A culture of impunity is born

2. “Forgive and forget” is not calling for peace. It is faux-peace ==> An appearance of peace that is not peace

It stifles the voice of the hurt person, teaches them that their emotions and feelings are not valid (especially compared to the offender, and the society) and that their interpretation of things cannot be trusted. Just like that, they’ve been hurt, and now you’re erasing them, and erasing their human agency

Demanding that they “forgive and forget” is attempting to automate the entire process we looked at in Part 1, so that you (an outsider) and the offender can feel comfortable

Haba! Don’t you guys fear God?

Allow them to feel, to process, to set consequences and boundaries etc. Pray for them, yes. Pray that the offender repents, that the hurt person heals

But take your hands of the timeline of the process

It’s in God’s hands, not yours

A quick recap of what we have learned so far: we need to forgive (no sense in holding an offence in our hearts, or holding it over the other person’s head), but we are not mandated to wipe our memory – that’s something we need to ask God for help to do. If you need more time to get over the hurt, let them know. There’s no point holding it over their heads – you can simply admit that you have forgiven (if you have), but that you need time to get over the hurt. You can share what they can do to help the process, but do not allow yourself to be bullied into “moving on” if you’re still holding on to it.
We need to be accountable, hold the people we love and work with to our shared values and set boundaries, but we do not get to legislate on how they feel if we hurt them, or how long it takes for them to work through the hurt

Author: Jane Oluwadare
Jane solves hard problems so you don't stay stuck Jane (Hadassah) OLUWADARE is an autistic, dyslexic multi-dimensional woman who uses her different dimensions to amplify one another, and is committed to showing other neurodivergent people how to replicate working wisdom in their respective contexts. In the PKH Network, she brings her various facets, strengths and skills to work together in viable business models, creating solutions for other visionaries, and providing platforms for young people to grow into their own strengths, develop experience and expertise As a data analyst, strategist and business development consultant in PKH Consulting, she sits with business structures to help them identify the gaps in their processes, build the blueprints, strategy, process flows and structures that will get them from where they are to where they want to be. As a productivity and execution coach in PHRONESIS Lighthouse, she works with neurodivergent people to get more productive, and do more with less effort, with particular attention to autistic people and people with ADHD. As a fashion consultant in HSFH, she styles, illustrates, and brings 15+ years of sewing experience to bear as she works to produce and sell stylish clothing that meets sensory, functional and fashionable needs. She teaches creative and trade skills in CriArt Skill Academy, working with neurodivergent children (with particular attention to autism, dyslexia and ADHD) to show them how their natural talents and tendencies can be an advantage inside and outside of the classroom and school curriculum. Utilising games and play as tools, as well as drawing from her own personal experience as a designer, chef and writer she helps them transfer the skills from the creative arts into school subjects and real life. She writes extensively, sharing her thoughts in books, articles and through her various enterprises as creative stories and non-fiction think-pieces available in Books By Hadassah. An International Youth Council member and former Global Youth Ambassador, she sits on the boards of several youth-led organisations in an advisory capacity; and continues to work with others to help develop children and young adults to create a life of impact. At the very core of her being, Hadassah keeps chasing after The One who keeps her balanced and finds the ultimate fulfilment in her fellowship with the Holy Spirit. She quips that He is the real super power that keeps her functioning as an autistic, dyslexic person with ADHD, and often shares the insights He teaches her on Personal Development, Business Development and mindset reorientation according to the Word with Deborah's Court (her ministry expression)

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