I’ve often heard:

I wish I could say it’s forgiven and forgotten — but it isn’t. As much as I’ve tried — all I feel is the anger and the bitterness.

Without forgiveness, bitterness is all that’s left!

Maybe it’s an old wound. A parent abused you. A mate betrayed you. And you’re angry.

Perhaps the wound is fresh. The friend who owes you money just drove by in a new car. The boss who hired you with promises of promotions has forgotten how to pronounce your name. And you’re hurt!

There’s a fire burning in your heart. It’s the fire of anger. And you’re left with a decision. Do I get over it or get even? Do I let my hurts heal, or do I let hurt turn into hate?

Forgiveness is not foolishness. Forgiveness, at its core, is choosing to see your offender with different eyes.

How can we grace-recipients do anything less? (Colossians 3:13)

Dare we ask God for grace when we refuse to give it? (Matthew 6:14-15)

This is a huge issue in Scripture because it is a huge issue to God! Jesus was tough on sinners who refused to forgive other sinners.

Forgiveness is setting the captive bird free and then realizing that you were the captive bird!
Remember the story about the servant who has been freshly forgiven a debt of millions but who refused to forgive a significant but much smaller debt owed him by a fellow servant? (Matthew 18:21-35). His unwillingness to forgive stirred the wrath of God. Jesus makes clear his verdict on the unforgiving servant:

You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt. Shouldn’t you have mercy just as I had mercy on you? (Matthew 18:32).

In the final sum, we give grace because we’ve been given grace. And, we’ve been given grace so we can freely give it. See your enemies as God’s child and revenge as God’s job.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).