Forgiveness is such a HARD topic to write about. Not that forgiving is necessarily hard to do, but there are so many different ways to do it that there's not a one size or one answer fits all. Forgiveness doesn't have to be complicated as the end result leads to freedom.
Let me explain......
Oftentimes when grudges are held, feelings or hurt or angry thoughts are overrunning your mental space, YOU are the only one that has to deal with it. The other person/people often don't have a clue what you're upset about, or if they do, often wonder why it's such a big deal to you.
(DISCLAIMER: I'm talking about petty infractions like someone cutting you off on the freeway, someone's opinion ruining your day, or even an unkind look in your direction. I am NOT talking about abuse, neglect or persecution, although I will in a minute.)
You continue on in your feelings or frustrations as if you have the "right" to do so because of what they did or said. All the while, you're suffering from finding negative in that person in all that they do, even if they try and make amends. Your mental energy is spent in "entitled anger" as if it's a badge of honor. I'm asking you to rise up and forgive to free yourself from such pain that prolonged grudges carry.
Now on to abuse, neglect and persecution. In some ways, we might have all experienced this at one point in our lives. I have experienced all three and it's definitely NOT the easiest path of forgiveness to go down. You and I often wonder if forgiving will somehow lead to their further committing of such acts. Or that they don't deserve to be forgiven because they haven't apologized.
But the truth is..... they do deserve forgiveness! And YOU deserve the freedom from letting that go!
It absolutely doesn't mean that you must now become BFF's with the accused or put yourself in similar situations that would bring about potential harm. It DOES mean that you are freeing yourself from the hatred you are holding on to and letting God judge the accused.
It's not our job to be the judge, it's His. It doesn't make the simple infractions or the severe encounters less painful, but it's showing our willingness to let Him take the pain from us, as He already did when He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane for each and every one of us, and for each and every pain we will ever feel.
Christ heals but we must be willing to forgive and let the freedom start raining upon us. We will eventually need that favor in return.