Can non-Christians forgive as Christians can

Does the Bible Teach Forgiveness and Forget?

The phrase "forgive and forget" is not mentioned in that way in the Bible. But there are numerous verses that command us to forgive one another (e.g. Matthew 6:14 and Ephesians 4:32). As a result, a Christian who is unwilling to forgive others hinders his relationship with God (Matthew 6:15) and can reap bitterness and loss of rewards (Hebrews 12: 14-15; 2 John 1: 8).

Forgiveness is a choice of the will. Since God commands us to forgive, we must make a conscious choice to obey God and forgive. The perpetrator may not want forgiveness and may never change, but that doesn't negate God's desire for us to have a forgiving spirit (Matthew 5:44). Ideally, the perpetrator seeks redress, but if not, the victim can still make the decision to forgive.

Of course, it is impossible to truly forget completely about the sins that were against us. We cannot selectively "erase" events from our memory. The Bible says that God will never “remember” our sins again (Hebrews 8:12). But God is nevertheless omniscient. God knows we "have all sinned and do not obtain the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). But since we have been forgiven, we are justified in our standing (or in court). Heaven is ours as if our sins never happened. If we belong to Him through our faith in Christ, then God does not condemn us for our sins (Romans 8: 1). In this sense, God “forgives and forgets”.

When someone means by "forgiving and forgetting", "I choose to forgive the perpetrator for the sake of Christ and get on with my life," then that is a wise and godly act. We should forget as much as possible of what is behind us and move forward (Philippians 3:13). We should forgive one another "just as God ... forgave in Christ" (Ephesians 4:32). We must not allow bitterness to take hold and take root in our hearts (Hebrews 12:15).

However, when "forgiving and forgetting" means, "I act like sin never happened and live like I don't remember it," then we can get into trouble. For example, a rape victim may choose to forgive the rapist, but that does not mean that he / she should act as if that sin never happened. Spending time alone with the rapist, especially when he does not see his guilt, is not what the scriptures teach. Forgiveness is not further blaming a person for a sin, but forgiveness is different from trust. Taking precautions is wise and sometimes doing so will change the dynamics in a relationship. “The wise man sees misfortune coming and hides himself; the incomprehensible run on and have to atone ”(Proverbs 22: 3). Jesus instructed his followers: "Be wise as the serpents and without guile as the dove." (Matthew 10:16). In the context of relationships with unrepentant sins, we should be “without wrong” (ready to be forgiven) and at the same time be “wise” (careful).

The ideal is to forgive and forget. Love makes no list of wrongdoings (1 Corinthians 13: 5) and covers a variety of sins (1 Peter 4: 8). However, it is God's business to change hearts, and until a perpetrator experiences a true and supernatural change of heart, it is only wise to limit trust in that person. Being careful doesn't mean we haven't forgiven. It just means that we are not God and we cannot see that person's heart.


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Does the Bible Teach Forgiveness and Forget?
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