Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22
We may believe that by refusing to forgive we’re punishing the offender, but the truth is we don’t hurt them we hurt ourselves. "Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die". It spreads bitterness through the soul while infection festers in the original wound. Until it is cleansed through forgiveness, the wound can’t heal.
We may resist granting forgiveness because we don’t fully understand what exactly it is.
• deny what happened to you
• make what happened acceptable
• grant permission for it to happen again
• take away the consequences they will face for their sin
• make you weak
• require their repentance
• hold on to the desire to hurt them
• a difficult and uncomfortable process
• different than trust which must be earned
• freeing yourself from the offender’s power in your life
• about how much you trust God to take care of you
• empathy for the offender, humility about your own sins and gratitude to God for your forgiveness
The cleansing power of forgiveness washes the wound and brings healing; it frees us to move on with life. Through it our relationship with the Father is opened for it keeps us in obedience to His word. If you're struggling to forgive someone, turn to the One who has forgiven all of our sins and He will give you aid.