Perhaps the greatest modern example of “Forgive and Forget” is South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

This was a court-like body assembled in South Africa after the abolition of apartheid. Individuals who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations were able to give statements about their experiences in a public venue. Those who had violated their rights could also testify and request amnesty from civil and criminal prosecution.

One important aspect of the Commission is that while it sought to forgive, it didn’t seek to forget. To forget would have been to sweep all past wrongs under the rug without a hearing. By holding the Commission is was possible to preserve the memories of wrong doing so as to serve of an example of what not to do again.  Despite some flaws, and inevitable criticism it is generally acknowledged to have been successful.

This one process was essential for South Africa to move beyond the sins of apartheid and showed a whole new dimension of leadership to the world.