Saturday, December 29, 2012

Forgive and Forget...I don't think so!

Definition of FORGIVE
transitive verb
a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for <forgive an insult>
b : to grant relief from payment of <forgive a debt>
: to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : pardon <forgive one's enemies>

Definition of FORGET
transitive verb
a : to lose the remembrance of : be unable to think of or recall <I forget his name>
b obsolete : to cease from doing
: to treat with inattention or disregard <forgot their old friends>
a : to disregard intentionally : overlook —usually used in the imperative <I shouldn't have said that, so just forget it>
b : to give up hope for or expectation of —usually used in the imperative <as for prompt service, forget it>
intransitive verb
1: to cease remembering or noticing <forgive and forget>

I hear so many people say “forgive”.  I have thoroughly searched both definitions and can find no points where they are synonymous.  They are not listed as synonyms in any thesaurus I’ve seen.  They were not listed as synonyms in the definitions I lifted from Merriam-Webster online above.  (see I credited the source!)

Forgive this or that person for what they have said or done.  Oh, but I have.  I truly have forgiven the face slapping insult they gave me last week.  I forgave the face slapping insult from the weeks before, the months and years before.  The crushing emotional blows, the verbal abuse heaped upon me, the many new ways of hurting me through hurting my son.  I have forgiven those insults and don’t let anger fester.  I have taught him to forgive it.  Everyone deserves forgiveness.  I have screwed up soooo many times.  I need forgiveness for slights, mean words, harsh criticisms.  I do apologize and I am really trying to be less brutal.  I have to forgive myself and I find that really hard to do especially when my failings are so many.  My bone of contention is with the other word.  That little hang up is in the yellow highlighted area.  Forget.

Forgive and forget are NOT the same, nor are they inclusive.  If I were to ignore a sign warning me to stay on the path or something might attack me and severely wound me, I could forgive the thing that attacked me and left me bleeding emotionally or physically…but never forget the warning again to stay on the path. If I forgot that I would be addlebrained, a masochist or both.
When I forgive someone for insulting me or hurting me I feel they should have the good graces not to openly seek to hurt me again.  I will very likely forget that a person ever hurt me if it happens once and never or rarely again.  I know best friends and I have hurt each other over the years. I remember we argued but not really about what.  A few of us had a nasty falling out about things that were completely misconstrued.  We lost years over it but forgave each other.  I remember the pain of separation from them but feel happiness when we talk.   We all said our “I’m sorry’s “, the thing was, we said them AND we meant them. 

The people I am having a hard time with now haven’t stopped hurting me.  They do it every time we meet up, and most of the time when we talk on the phone. They also hurt my son when we meet up.  I lost it with them over this.  I challenged their treatment of my was met with gales of laughter!  My son knows that I won’t fault him if he is less than respectful to them despite their age.  I have in fact stood up to these people numerous times through many years.  The sad fact is they just don’t care and take it as one more opportunity to slap me with an insult in the form of bringing it up all the time, laugh about it, make fun of me,  and take it totally out of context.  They refuse to take any responsibility at all for being just plain mean, vile and rotten to others. 

I forgive each little insult, I forgive every harsh word.  I just won’t forget.  I refuse to sell myself or my son out and let myself forget that these people hurt others constantly.  I have let my guard drop they did it again and I was doubly crushed.  Remembering that people who are supposed to love and support you are mental sadists can help in the long run.  I have chosen to remember that they are self centered jerks, this is their nature, I am less hurt by the slights and nasty comments.   I am choosing by forgiving them, but not seeing them often, to preserve my sanity.  I won’t carry the hate or the pain.  I am also teaching my son that he has worth.  I tell him to stick up for himself if we aren’t around and he happens to be alone.  Being firm is not the same as being rude.   Oddly enough when he sticks up for himself I get to hear threats being made.  I smile when I hear him say “fine take it back”.  He isn’t buying in to the trash they are selling. 

Some things are not worth items or cash, things like dignity and self respect.  I’ve noticed the people who preach and scream “forgive and forget…oh you can’t carry that burden” are the ones least qualified to comment on my state of forgiveness toward these people.  They have allowed these people to walk on them for years and still allow these people to treat them with disdain or disrespect and weather each new hurt with a smile.  They do it for things like gifts and money, loan’s they’ve asked for and can’t pay back, etc.  I simply am choosing to not be hurt.  It has nothing to do with forgiving at all but everything to do with forgetting and the choice not to. 

The next time someone tells you to “forgive and forget” just smile and live your life.

(oh and before anyone says it; The phrase "forgive and forget" is not found in the Bible. We are told to forgive, but never to forget.)


Cynthia White said...

YEP! Forgiving is for the wise, but forgetting, for a fool. Remembering the source of pain is a teacher and a preventative.

I just can't shut up said...

I fully agree! It took me years to learn that and even more years to have it touch my soul. I find it insulting now when people propose to know my heart because I refuse to have it stomped on for the pleasure of others :)