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Forgetting What Lies Behind?

The old adage tells us to “forgive and forget,” but does that line up with the church’s understanding of forgiveness? Does showing mercy really require that we no longer remember the wrongdoing?

Pastors are half as likely as their congregations to say that real forgiveness requires forgetting. Pastors are also more likely than those in the pews to say it’s about “restoring a relationship but not forgetting.” Either way, forgiveness can be di­fficult for us to extend—around a quarter of practicing Christians know someone they can’t or don’t want to forgive.

Percent of practicing Christians who identify with each experience:

Received unconditional forgiveness from someone – 55%

Have not received unconditional forgiveness – 38%

Know someone they don’t want to forgive – 27%

Know someone they can’t forgive – 23%

Have not offered unconditional forgiveness – 15%

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