”Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13
When we forgive as God forgives, we recognize that the person is not perfect and will fail us. And we are promising we will not treat the offender in the way that we have a human right to, considering their offense. When the hurt from the offense washes over us and the memory of the hurt fills us with a sense of betrayal and rage, our natural instinct is to get back at the offender. If we have forgiven, we must at that point say, "Yes, this happened and I was devastated by it. But I have chosen to forgive. Therefore, I CHOOSE to respond in a way that does not hurt the other person - that does not treat them in a way he or she deserves."
This kind of forgiveness is not a one time act that magically transforms a shattered heart. When the hurt is deep and life shattering, it takes a lifetime of godly choices to learn how to interact with the forgiven offender.
With a lot of practice in this kind of "forgetting", in time, the hurt diminishes. This is not easy in the short term but the alternative is to become a bitter, old man in the long term. Obedience is tough in the short term but bears great fruit in the long term. Someone has called this kind of living “a long obedience in the same direction
Answer excerpted from Is it Possible to Forgive and Forget by Dr. Chuck Better and used by permission of In His Grip. Click here to read the article in its entirety.