“I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” Php 3:13 NLT
Forgiving someone who has hurt you deeply is one of the most difficult things you will ever be asked to do. You know you must forgive, for nursing a grudge is like nursing a baby; anything you feed and nurture will continue to grow. But that doesn’t make forgiving easy. Try to understand this: Forgiveness is a decision, not an emotion. If you wait until you feel like forgiving, you risk remaining trapped in the torture of resentment. When Peter asked Jesus how often he should forgive someone who had offended him, Jesus replied, “Seventy times seven” (Mt 18:22). In other words, forgive, and keep on forgiving until you get beyond it. But note four things: (1) Forgiveness doesn’t mean you must resume a relationship with the offender, especially if they are unrepentant and refuse to change their behavior. (2) It doesn’t mean condoning what they did or agreeing with them. (3) It doesn’t let them off the hook; it lets you off the hook and enables you to get on with your life. (4) It doesn’t mean you won’t be able to remember it, but that you will have the power to think about it differently; graciously rather than resentfully. And one more thought: Don’t let Satan convince you that you haven’t forgiven just because you still remember. The ability to forgive is a learned behavior. The more you practice it, the better you get at it. It happens when you look for ways to extend understanding to your offender and find something to be compassionate about.