I talk about forgiveness a lot in my writings and talking in person. So many people think forgiveness means that what the other person did is ok but it does not mean that. Forgiveness means you are releasing your heart of the hurt, the anger and other emotions so that you can go on to live your life in peace. We can forgive without the person who harmed us knowing.
Now, I believe that forgiveness is very important if someone comes and asks us to forgive them for whatever they did. It means they are truly sorry and it is important for them to move forward in a productive way. Unfortunately, some people hold on to that anger and want revenge on the person which is not ours to do. I am a person of faith and God repeatedly says:
Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written: “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord.”
For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge His people.”
2 Peter 2:3
In their greed, these false teachers will exploit you with tales they have concocted. The longstanding verdict against them remains in force, and their destruction does not sleep.
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against any of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
I know from experience that when we forgive others a peace comes over us. I have forgiven when at one point I thought there was no way I could forgive. But I gave it all to God and forgave them. I have had people say things like “I want them to know I forgave them.” and this makes me think they are doing it for the wrong reason. Once again it is a form of revenge to want to see their face when proclaiming I forgive you. Look how good I am.
Anger, wanting revenge and other emotions quickly turn into hate and hate is like drinking poison thinking you are killing the one you hate but you only kill your own soul. Just look at all the hate going on in the world and our country today. People are acting in ways that are hard to understand and ways that we never thought they would. And hate fuels that anger and that desire to seek revenge.
And lastly for me, I believe in forgiving and forgetting. I have heard people say “I will forgive but I will never forget what you did to me.” and that is carrying a grudge so your forgiveness will not bring the peace you need. God says in Hebrews 8:12 “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” So if God can forgive us and not remember the sins we committed against Him, then I believe we should be able to also.