I distinctly remember forgetting that: forgiveness as an act of erasure

“I distinctly remember forgetting that.” Forgiveness expressed as an act of deliberate erasure.

I was a young man who felt compelled to make apology to the President of my college for antics the year before. James R. Cope, President of the tiny Bible college I attended, was a stern man and one you did not want to disappoint. 

Ironically, it was something I’d written in the school newspaper. Go figure, right? Several decades later and the only thing changed is I’ve quit apologizing for what I write.

The powerful lesson of forgiveness as a conscious act, independent of the offender, has never left me.

The scene is still vivid in my mind. I sat in his second floor office at the beginning of the fall semester, a little cowed, and apologized for the errant article and the rebellion I’d shown my junior year.

He gave me a puzzled look that transformed into kindness and understanding.

“Scott,” he said, “I distinctly remember forgetting that.” And he meant it.

Admittedly, I probably had overestimated my ability to offend at the time; I’ve since perfected the technique. But the powerful lesson of forgiveness as a conscious act, independent of the offender, has never left me.

I’ve found it in others, but too rarely: unconditional forgetfulness … aka forgiveness. It seems to be the constant among those who dare call themselves my friends.

Not every field needs to be re-plowed; nor must every knot be untied.

The obscenity of the upcoming gifting ritual we observe is, there are so few things most people on our list really need. But how many of us might be genuinely enriched by the gift of forgiveness? Possibly just as many as would be enriched by offering it freely.

“I distinctly remember forgetting that.” Not every field needs to be re-plowed; nor must every knot be untied. Sometimes, it’s better to just move forward.

Reconciliation is easier when no one has to be right. Or wrong.

“Can we just start over?” Reconciliation is easier when no one has to be right. Or wrong. It doesn’t mean someone wasn’t; it may simply mean judgement is deferred to One better able to make those decisions.

Erasure. You won’t find it on Amazon, but you can give it in an email. You can even ask for it the same way. Put it on your list.

“I distinctly remember forgetting that.”

It’s liberating.