The greatest example of forgiveness, of course, is Jesus Christ. Evilmen accused him falsely, convicted Him unjustly, beat Him unmercifully, mocked Him cruelly, spiked Him to a cross. With blood running over His forehead, down His arms and over His feet, with His back scourged unmercifully, He looked down from the cross at the hostile crowd and prayed, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Not a twinged of bitterness, but only love and forgiveness were in His heart toward those who had put Him there. In that sentence, we were forgiven and set free from the bondage of sin.
Forgiveness is sometimes difficult. Just think about that for a minute! The cost is always borne by the one who does the forgiving. If I break a pretty and expensive vase of yours and you forgive me, you suffer the loss and I go free. If I ruin your reputation and you forgive me, you bear the hurt and I go free. Forgiveness doesn't restore the vase or the reputation. It doesn't repair the damage which was done. It just writes it off!~ Forgiven! Isn't that what Christ did for us on the cross? He cancelled the debt. When we forgive someone we letting our offender off the hook. Jesus, hanging on the cross looked up to the Father and said "It is finished." The plan of salvation was complete. He came for that purpose and He finished it. Now we can enter in because of what He did for us. Oh, What a Savior!
Forgiving is a choice. It is an act of the will. It is a clear and deliberate choice. This does not mean that the hurt will go away or that the damage wasn't real. Neither does it mean we'll be able to forget what happened. As long as our mind is clear we'll be able to remember the hurt we received. It just means that we no longer want our offender to suffer for what they may have done. We no longer hold resentment toward the person or wish him ill.
And don't wait most of your life for someone to come to you to ask forgiveness.You just forgive in your heart. Sometimes we have to keep reminding ourselves that we have forgiven our offender for what he may have done. It is the devils business to bring it to mind. The deeper the hurt the longer it may take for the wound to heal.
The story is told of two men who traveled through life with sacks on their backs. Each time a hurt was received they would place it in what became known as their "injury sack." One man's sack became so bulging and heavy he couldn't walk without difficulty or pain. The other man's sack was empty and light. There was nothing in it. "How can your "injury sack" be empty," a stranger asked? "Have you never been hurt? "Oh yes, I''ve been hurt many times," the man replied. "As my sack grew large and its weight became unbearable, I asked a friend one day if he would help me carry the load," he replied. "No one can help you carry the load of hurt, he replied, "but there is a way for you to rid yourself of it. Take the scissors of forgiveness and slit the bottom of your swack, and your load of hurt will fall away." That's what I chose to do that day. Since then, I take all the hurts I receive and place them into my "injury sack" as before , but now they simply slide out the bottom. That's one load I chose not to carry.