“Forgiveness is first for you, the forgiver...to release you from something that will eat you alive; that will destroy your joy and your ability to love fully and openly."~~~Wm. Paul Young
I once knew a man who was very badly hurt by his ex-wife. He would recount all the ways in which she had wronged him to anyone who would listen. He was holding on to a huge resentment and felt he was entitled to an apology from her. Many years had passed since they had divorced and he still had not received the apology....there was a good chance that he wasn't going to get one, but he still clung to the idea that he deserved one. Better to be right...or is it?
The lesson in this (true) story is that forgiveness is not for the person who did wrong, it's for the person who was wronged. If I'm waiting for an apology from someone who either isn't willing to give one or doesn't feel they need to, the only person who is hurt by my lack of forgiveness is me!
Resentment and holding onto grievances is like picking a scab (gross, I know...but bear with me on this)...by reopening the wound over and over again, you never give it the opportunity to heal. Forgiveness is like the antiseptic that cleans out the wound and allows it to heal.
Forgiveness is not always easy, but holding onto the resentment is more painful. One way to start the process is to the pray for the other person. While this may sound counterintuitive at first, in actuality, it allows the healing process to begin by loosening the death grip of resentment. By praying for the greater good of the other person, you're making room for love to enter. Forgiveness does not excuse or condone the behavior of the other person, but it does allow you to move forward without dragging the dead weight of the past with you into the present moment.
Check out what Marianne Williamson has to say on this topic:
An unforgiving heart is closed off to love and miracles.
Forgiveness is the key to open the heart once again.