Tuesday, March 3, 2009

If You Forgive, But Don't Forget, Can You Ever Move On?

We've all heard this mantra before, "forgive, but don't forget." It's often seen as a compromise between continued animosity and getting over the issue completely. But, there are a number of flaws in this rationale. Even if you are willing to forgive, the simple fact that you will never forget how someone has wronged you means that your relationship with that person could be forever changed. That wrongdoing will always be in the back of your mind.

Am I saying that we should only forgive someone if we really mean it? If we're sure that we can work to get the relatinoship back to where it was before? Not necessarily. Forgiveness is a tough thing. How many of us have been able to say I forgive you, and mean it 100%? Some people are easy to forgive, some find the strength to forgive and move on in the most difficult situations.

If you've turned on a TV, gone online, or opened a magazine in the past month, you know about the incident between Rihanna and Chris Brown. Well, the most recent turn of events in that storyline fits right in with the topic of forgiveness. Rumors are swirling that Rihanna and Brown have reconciled and are allegedly back together. My intial gut reaction is how could she forgive someone who, despite his love for her, beat her up and left her to suffer less than a month ago? Has she decided to forgive, but not forget? If so, can their relationship ever be the same? Would she be better off cutting ties with him completely?

The deeper question is, when someone does something so hurtful that we feel it in every bone of our body, can we ever truly forgive? Can we maintain a healthy relationship with someone even if we promise ourselves we will never forget?


1. compassionate feelings that support a willingness to forgive
2. the act of excusing a mistake or offense

What's your definition?

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