In politics, it’s easier to forgive than it is to forget. When a talk-show host tags a female student with an unflattering name or a candidate suffers a memory lapse during a debate, he may be forgiven in private. But political missteps will never, ever be forgotten. They’re far too useful.

That’s often true in personal relationships, too. Most people recognize that forgiveness is healthier than marinating in the saltwater of bitterness and will make an effort to let go of their vindictive urges. The deeper the offense, the more difficult this is, but reasonable people can forgive. Forgetfulness, however, is another matter.

Christians have a deeper well from which to draw forgiveness, because we’ve been dug out, so to speak: Our own sins are continually before us and we understand, more and more as time goes on, how much we’ve been forgiven. Receiving grace grants the power of extending grace. But forgetting?

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