Forgiveness is something we all need both…. to give and to receive. The consequences of harboring unforgiveness, or not being willing to accept forgiveness, are severe. Some people have great difficulty with this thought because they have the wrong idea about what forgiveness is.
Forgiveness is NOT pretending that the affront never happened.
Forgiveness is NOT saying that I wasn’t really hurt by the event.
Forgiveness is NOT releasing the offender from all consequences of the error.
But forgiveness is refusing to nurse the grudge and thereby allowing it to continue hurting you. It is letting go of the resentment and allowing God (or sometimes governing authorities) to deal with it. It is refusing to hang onto demands for ‘payment’ from the offender until that person comes with an apology or recompense. They still need to come, but you are not allowing it to keep on hurting you by dwelling on it.
As someone has succinctly stated: “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die.”
The biggest incentive to forgive comes with the realization that God offers full forgiveness for all we have done, which is far more than what others have done to us.