Read Hebrews 12:14-15
14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. (NLT)
If someone else hurts us, we may properly resist the idea of hitting back. And yet a more insidious sort of attitude creeps in. A sort of moral superiority. There is no outward revenge, but inside there is what this text describes as a root of bitterness. An icy-cold, grim refusal to let go of the wound.
Perhaps we think we cannot truly forgive from the heart till the other person crawls to us on their hands and knees in grovelling repentance. But this is a mistake. We inflict more pain on ourselves by allowing that other person to go on hurting us and distorting our lives. Why put our precious lives in the hands of someone who has wounded us and may go wounding us?
Of course there can be no reconciliation without the other person repenting. But even if such repentance is lacking we can still resolve to not let the hurt shape or misshape our lives. We don’t sit back and let them take the initiative. We take the initiative in getting free of resentment and bitterness.
In so doing, we don’t so much let the other person off the hook; we let ourselves off the hook. When we forgive from the heart, hard though it is, we do ourselves above all a favour.