[Forgive me, but I have rambled a bit writing this]
I've been seeking an understanding of forgiveness for my whole adult life it seems. Usually I am looking for a step-by-step manual of "Forgiveness for Dummies." [Reading through Wiki's entry for forgiveness there's a guy who actually wrote a book on a 20 step process: Dr. Robert Enright, Forgiveness is a Choice, American Psychological Association , 2001 ISBN 1-55798-757-2]
But for me, forgiveness is something from the heart. It can't be made into a technical manual. And for myself again, forgiveness is every bit a requirement for my walk with God as confession of my sins. [It's a good thing that God transcends time as my confession is gonna take awhile.] I have resented that most churches emphasize the need to be forgiving but do not really teach how to do it. But that is me trying to find the technician's approach again. I have always heard the phrase, "forgive and forget," but I think that very true phrase both oversimplifies and confuses the issues. God can forgive and forget in hard truth. But as a human being [in spite of what Ken Hutcherson believes] I cannot erase those memories or hide them someplace in my mind and be healthy.
The "study" I've been trying to do is more about finding my true words, my heart words, to put what I know in my heart into English so that I can articulate it better, so I can give it some form I can actually touch with my hands? and somehow give it a measure that I can use in my daily, boring life.
For me, to forgive is to unconditionally give up a claim on another for wrongs I perceive. Again for myself, to forget in this context is to unconditionally not bring up or remember the wrongs I perceive. Forgiveness is about me. Forgetting is about me. I am not responsible for my brother's response or remembering of the wrong. I am only responsible for my heart in the matter. I found this anonymous quote about forgiveness that strikes me as poetic and touches me to my soul, "Forgiveness is the scent that the rose leaves on the heel that crushes it."
To live a life of forgiveness strikes some of my friends as allowing people to run me over. Perhaps they are right. I dunno. I only know I must forgive, no other options. I must.