Source: (1999) In God and the victim: Theological reflections on evil, victimization, justice, and forgiveness, ed. Lisa Barnes Lampman and Michelle D. Shattuck, 160-182. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; and Neighbors Who Care: Washington, D.C.

In this essay, L. Gregory Jones explores some of the complexities relating to the nature and experience of forgiveness, in particular the issues of memory and healing. As he observes, crime victims often receive advice in the form of two clichés: 'forgive and forget'; and 'time heals all wounds.' Jones asks whether a person can forgive and truly forget? Indeed, should a person forget? And, as Jones notes, time does not heal all wounds; some fester over time. With all of this in mind, Jones discusses forgiveness as God’s means of bringing reconciliation, healing, and restoration. Yet forgiveness is not simple. It involves many elements, including truthfulness about conflicts and feelings, openness to others, commitment to changing the root causes of problems, and a desire for reconciliation. Moreover, the issue of memory and forgiveness is complex. Sometimes it is necessary to try to forget in terms of not holding onto a sense of injury that prevents healing and reconciliation. At the same time, Jones suggests that the answer may lie not in forgetting but in remembering well – that is, in remembrance transformed in God’s grace and power.