Over the past few weeks, various situations have been scratching at the surface of an old scar in my life. It's one that I could have sworn I had forgiven and forgotten. But these situations drip, drip, dripped onto my emotions and tugged at the scar, wanting to open it up.
I did what I think is the right thing. I didn't think about them. But I did wonder about them. It was like, "Oh yeah, that was a rough situation."
Today, I was driving home and I went there. Someone had said something that reminded me of an old hurt, and I decided I must not have forgiven and I needed to rethink why I had been there. And the most interesting thing happened. After I had essentially made the decision to think about the situation longer, all the old memories - the ones that I had forgotten - came flooding back in.
I had unknowingly opened the floodgates to old memories I had forgotten. I found myself going to a bad place of being exactly where I had been previously of re-feeling everything negative I had experienced. I knew I couldn't do that.
After going through that moment of unlocking old memories, I started to wonder, Maybe this whole forgiving and forgetting thing isn't something you do once and you're done with it. Instead, as situations remind you of what you have forgotten, you have to deliberately choose to keep away from negative thoughts, stay in the place of "forgiven and forgotten," and when negative thoughts come, you don't invest time in them.
Time seemed to be the factor that was most involved. When I was dealing with the forgiveness the first time through, I invested a lot of time in thinking through the ins and outs and justifying my position and trying to figure out their position. To some degree that was probably time well spent as I tried to figure out what my feelings were and what was going on, but after a certain point (and I usually knew when that point was), I had to stop investing time in it. The "chip on my shoulder" was eating all my mental energy, and that's not good.
So I'm not going there today or any day. In the future when circumstances come that remind me of my old feelings, I won't invest time in those thoughts. I have forgiven and forgotten. I choose to move on. Because God's grace enables me, I choose to not think about it. I will continue on.