It has long been told that when we forgive someone, we need to forget what they did. I speculate that this idea comes from places in the Bible such as Ezekiel 33:16 where it says that none of the sins committed will be remembered against the sinner. I think, however, that we have taken this principle and allowed ourselves to become numb to the truth behind it.
Please, be wise…
What this truly boils down to is our own personal need to exercise judgment in regards to other people. You must discern what people will do, otherwise, you may share in the blame for what they do. Yesterday, I spoke of a (fictional but possible) story of parents looking for a baby sitter and an offer coming from a child molestor. This ex-convict may have not been a believer at the time of the crime, but now has come to forgiveness and is looking to grow. It would be poor judgment on the parents’ part to allow the man to watch the kids. This is true because they are supposed to protect their children but also help the man grow. How can he grow when given an opportunity like that to sin again?
So have the parents since forgiven the man for his act against children? In this story, yes, he has been forgiven and is growing in faith. The world would thus say- then forget about it! If you are remembering their crime, that is not forgiveness! But that is utterly false. We must remember the crime, but not hold it against them. In other words, forgive as many times as needed, meanwhile remembering where they have come from.
A better growth
That example is a bit extreme, but you see my point. This is why judging people is necessary, but condemning people is terribly sinful. When we judge someone, we make a decision about that person, which, as mentioned, we do daily.
We must forgive people in their sin- but make provision for them to grow and not be led astray into thinking they can hide from the community and God. This involves instances such as not drinking around a former drunk. He is forgiven for sin, but we must remember from where he came.