It was quite interesting to find an article on forgiveness in a non-religious magazine. In fact, it was in Counseling Today, the ACA magazine for licensed, professional, clinical counselors. The article was so interesting that I'd like to quote a couple lines here.
What stands between many clients and a happy life is the often-elusive process of forgiveness.
Blockages people struggle with in their lives were linked to some sort of issue for which they needed to forgive someone.
Forgiveness isn't about the other person or about making someone else apologize or change--it is about setting yourself free.
Not forgiving creates an emotional prison, ties you to a person or an event that usually you would rather forget but are unable to.
I could go on. But I think the above quotes demonstrates quite well that forgiveness is about me, not about the other person. For when I failed to forgive, I become the prisoner, chained to the person or event I will not let go. Refusing to forgive keeps me very small, and small means many things: bitter, resentful, jealous, angry, hateful, stuck.
When Jesus said, forgive others as you want God to forgive you, he was in effect trying to remind me to keep balanced. Just as I do things that need forgiving, so too do others. Do not expect them to be something I cannot be.
Finding an article on forgiveness in a counseling magazine shows just how far reaching resentments can go. I do so much harm to myself when I refuse to forgive.
So the next time someone hurts or offends me, maybe my question should be, "Do I want to punish and damage myself over this?" If the answer is no, then it is time to let go.