How does one decide when to forget and when to forgive? Or is the question better asked as – who to forgive and who to forget? Because if we decide based on a situation and not an individual, then we discount the relationship, the history one has shared with the person.
To forgive is more difficult than to forget. So the labor better be worth the time.
After all, an individual is nothing but a framework of actions, thoughts and conscience, playing together. Some times synchronously, and others, asynchronously. So we can discount the person’s behavior at a point of time, giving them the benefit of doubt. And thereby account for the asynchronous play of variables in their framework.
Our options are limited to forgetting the person all together, or forgiving the person for that situation, yet, becoming cautious and cling on to the one wound. Such small wounds alter the play of thoughts, actions and conscience. They slowly grow into bigger wounds, and lead to unhealthy outcomes. But if we decide to forgive the person and forget the situation, that is a better outcome of the problem.
On the other hand, who are we to forgive? We can only control the memory, and hence forgetting is the most we as humans can achieve. To forgive is not for mere mortals.
One may also argue that the concept of forgiveness takes root in the expectations one has set out of the individual, or the individual in that particular situation. And expectations are more evil, than any other act.
As mortals we constantly engage in a barter of vibes and feelings. It is not always a fair trade. But only you can determine the value to place on your goods. And no one is under any obligation to agree with you on that value. For they themselves are undergoing the same act of evaluation. The outcome of the trade is as much a result of the negotiations, as the dominance of certain variables in their framework, at any given time.
It is up to you to forgive or forget. But to be able to rationalize one over the other, gives you the peace of mind that helps you sleep better at night. To prove to yourself that your framework is healthy and balanced.