For as long as we are here everyone at some time, in some place will find the need to forgive someone or to be forgiven by someone. The art of forgiveness I believe is an acquired one in that you do not naturally have the ability to forgive others. This is evident among children, as you watch them be it at play or otherwise you will see their reluctance in saying the three simple words “I am sorry”. Often you will find that this is the hardest thing for them to do. However if you manage to have them repeat the words I am sorry to those they have hurt you will find it becomes easier the second time around until there is no need for you to remind them to do so.
The Bible gives an account of God having created us, and giving us the ability of a free will, found Himself in a dilemma. His subjects that He had created to fellowship with Him became unable to, as sin provided a barrier between the Creator and His subjects. What did He do? We are told that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” Here we see two aspect of forgiveness being displayed God initiating, He is making the first step towards us for reconciliation. In order for this reconciliation to become effective there has to be an acceptance, and then it has to be appreciated. Unless we accept His offering of pardon for our wrongs which we have committed toward him there can be no forgiveness.
Think before: It is always a good thing to think before we act as it saves us a lot of heartache, however regardless of how we think before we act we will without a doubt make mistakes, hence whenever this occur we ought to do something about it. Here God Sent His Only son to die in order to reach us. Here we see that the act of forgiveness carries a heavy price tag. In most cases if not all, the victim is usually the one though hurt the most has to bend backwards again to extend pardon. Then having to adjust their feelings; so as not to resent the individual who have hurt them.
How is that done? Many will argue the point that it is impossible to forgive and forget, while others will say, forgive indeed, but never forget. Which one will you agree with? I will have to go for the first, because I believe if you are to forgive it has to be done completely. However this is rather difficult because often times the scar that is left behind is highly visible and impossible to forget. So how do you forget? My understanding of this type of forgiveness is that you will not forget the incident; rather the hurt and the resentment that usually accompanies the incident will be lessened until there is no resentment. This however comes with time, as only time can really heal wounds, wounds which are sometimes so deep it demands an external intervention; namely God to help you through it.
Justification: there can be no justification for hurting someone. Yes it is true that it can be unintentional. Nevertheless one should hurriedly make restitution and not delay in doing the honourable thing, by saying you are sorry. Making excuses for hurting anyone can never be morally right, and therefore swift action in dealing with the problem can alleviate half the hurt that would occur from hurting someone. To justify ones behaviour is like adding salt to the wound. Inflicting the wounded again and therefore should be avoided at all cost.
Cliché “get over it!” Get over what? When anyone does a wrong to an individual it should be acknowledged and dealt with. Anyone with a sense of justice will agree that it is right to correct any wrong done to any individual. Why victimise the victim, is it not enough that they are already hurting from the injustice that has been done to them? In my estimation that cliché is a cop out for abdicating ones responsibility, in owning up to the wrong done so that amendments can be made.
Resentment: there is no way you can cherish resentment and forgive someone, the two is not compatible. For to cherish resentment is to despise the offender; surely there is no rule that you should love those who despitefully use you or hurt you; but it helps when forgiveness is necessary. As many victims will tell you had they not let go of their resentment forgiveness would not have been possible.
Whatever our definition of forgiveness, and however way we choose to forgive, we need to remember one day we will find ourselves in need of forgiveness from someone that we truly love. Whatever the kind of forgiveness we expect at such time will determine the forgiveness we give each time someone offend us. There is a "law of forgiveness" and this is it “Forgive and you will be forgiven, for the same measure of forgiveness that you give will be returned to you.