Misericordes sicut Pater.
I read some good stuff on forgiveness and mercy today, which I thought I would share. The article it is taken from is here. It's not really about what I have taken this passage in isolation to refer to, but sometimes those insights can be the most valuable. For me, this quote is about the apparent confusion between pain inflicted, especially in the context of a familial relationship, which is forgiven, yet cannot be forgotten. Some situations, having been revisited many, many times, cannot be "fixed", and we are left to live with the fallout. This does not mean we do not forgive, or cannot move on, to the contrary, it can mean we have dealt with it properly and recognise that it is a situation beyond our control. Sometimes, renewing relationships on the pretext of forgiveness can be more damaging than maintaining a secure distance.
Mercy is a two-way street. The parable of the two debtors illustrates another facet of this truth. We must be ready to forgive those who have hurt us. We are called to be like Christ, and during His ministry and the life of the Church, the most visible thing He demonstrates is mercy and forgiveness, often to those who are actively wronging Him.Driving along yesterday I passed a Jaguar car with a man about 10-15 years older than me in it and a man about 20 years older than him in the passenger seat. The two were chatting animatedly. My own father abandoned his family some 17 years ago now, and it struck me how, though I warmly look forward to such exchanges with my own beloved children, I will never have those conversations with him. The decisions we make may be easy to justify in the immediate context, at least in our own minds, yet the repercussions are often far-reaching and can often be beyond our grasp at the time of making them.
This is pretty basic stuff, Catholicism 101. If you don't forgive, how can you expect others to forgive you? But there is more to it.
We often hear the expression "forgive and forget" — and that is sometimes silly. We must learn from what happened; we can't carry on as if it didn't happen. If someone betrays you, it would be cruel not to forgive him, but it would be the acme of foolishness to let yourself be placed in a situation where you could be hurt again. Forgiveness is about emptying your heart of hatred, not emptying your mind of wisdom.
So, no "forgive and forget" in that sense. But mercy demands that we forget forgiven sins in a different way. Perhaps it would be best expressed as "forgive and don't bring up." Let the past be the past.