Forgiveness in the bible is one of the greatest blessings that God has given us, and one of the greatest blessings we can give to others. If we all lived by the mantra “an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth,” we would all be blind and toothless. Instead, we must forgive others who wrong us, just as our Father has forgiven us. But sometimes forgiveness isn’t easy. Betrayal and abuse can hurt (both emotionally and physically), which can cause us to struggle with true forgiveness. In fact, we can sometimes hurt ourselves worse by not forgiving the offender in our life, as opposed to simply forgiving them and moving on.
What complicates this even more is questions like: What is forgiveness? Do we have to forgive those who never apologize? Do things have to return to normal? Having experienced a lot of emotional pain myself, I have often struggled with forgiveness, holding grudges. In addition to not punishing the person, we must also work to let go of the feelings of anger, hatred, and resentment. This is by far the hardest part for most people. But if we allow the hatred to linger, it can consume us and make us into a miserable and bitter person.
Thus, we actually bring more pain on ourselves than the offender did. Anger itself isn’t a sin. It is a natural emotion. The bible tells us: “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:26). ”So while we have rights to be angry when we are wronged, we should not allow that anger lead to sin, bitterness, or a grudge. We must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and move forward with our lives. If we allow the anger to linger, then we invite Satan’s ways into our lives.
This leads to misery and corruption. Let it go, and move on. Pray for help if needed, or speak to a counselor or friend if you are struggling. God forgives us, and we should forgive others. We are commanded to forgive. We are blessed when we give. Others are also blessed when they receive forgiveness. Forgiveness means letting go of anger and resentment, and not seeking revenge. It does not mean we always forget. It does not mean there are no consequences. It does not mean things may stay the same. But it does mean we are to obey God, love, and pray.