Read Colossians 3:12-14
12-14 As, therefore, God’s picked representatives of the new humanity, purified and beloved of God himself, be merciful in action, kindly in heart, humble in mind. Accept life, and be most patient and tolerant with one another, always ready to forgive if you have a difference with anyone. Forgive as freely as the Lord has forgiven you. And, above everything else, be truly loving, for love is the golden chain of all the virtues. (JBP)
Most of us have lived long enough to have been wounded by others. Ironically, those we are closest to are the most likely to have inflicted those wounds. And we can’t press a ‘delete’ button for the past and erase it from memory. The pain lingers, even when we unwisely try to bury it beneath busyness or vain attempts to forget.
If we don’t want to spend the rest of our lives rerunning the tape of pain in our minds and hearts, we need to be healed. We can’t move on just by pretending it isn’t there. And we certainly can’t move on if we are beset with thoughts of getting even. If we chew the cud of our resentment we end up with even more pain.
The only remedy is forgiveness. Facing the pain, calling it for what it is, then letting go of our desire or our need to hit back. Forgiveness is resolving not to let the hurt done to us shape our lives. It is painful, and it takes time, but the alternative is worse.
And if we complain that this lets the other person off the hook, we can only respond that it in fact lets us off the hook. We can be free of the haunting shadow of the hurt. We offer mercy and leave dispensation of justice to God. He is better at that sort of thing than we are.