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Forgive and forget?

November 13, 2011
I vividly remember one homily I heard many, many years ago, where the priest very clearly said that to forgive and forget made no sense. "We must forgive," he said, "but we mustn't ever forget!" It was very liberating to hear that. And it's so true.
There are so many questions about forgiveness: does forgiving mean that we let the other person hurt us again? Does it have to lead to reconciliation? What if the person is not alive anymore? I wonder if many of these questions or misconceptions prevent people from letting go freely and completely into the mystery of forgiveness.
It is not a coincidence that Jesus himself talks about forgiveness many times: We must forgive 70 x 7 times (Matthew 18:22). Forgive, and you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37 and Matthew 6:14-16). And then, of course, the Lord's Prayer: And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors (Matthew 6:12). It must be important!
As Fr. Scott Hurd says in his new book, "Forgiveness: A Catholic Approach", it's more than just a nice thing to do. If you are uncertain about what real forgiveness looks like, if you are tired of forgiving, or if you don't know where to start, this book is for you. In fact, even if those things don't apply to you, you are bound to be in a situation where you are called to forgive.
I had the chance to speak with Fr. Hurd on this week's S+L Radio. Tune in to listen to our conversation and learn how beautiful the Catholic approach to forgiveness is. If you're interested in purchasing the book, you can do so from Pauline Books and Media.