I know of scarcely anything more difficult, more challenging and more humbling than expressing forgiveness. But at the same time, I know of scarcely anything more freeing than forgiveness. In the Holocaust documentary titled Shoah, a Warsaw ghetto victim states, “If you could lick my heart, it would poison you.” Nothing depicts a non-forgiving heart better than that picture. Author Gary Thomas once wrote, “We will be sinned against, and we will be hurt. When that happens, we will have a choice to make: We can give in to our hurt, resentment, and bitterness, or we can grow as a Christian and learn yet another important lesson on how to forgive.”
Forgiving is not something we naturally love to do. Even though we have been forgiven of so much and have fully come short of God’s ideal, we love to withhold forgiveness simply because (we might tell ourselves) the person has not suffered sufficiently for what they did to us. The truth is, One already suffered so we could be forgiven; we must now make the choice to do likewise (See Colossians 3:13). To do anything less is to take a position of critical judgment, freely giving ourselves over to the use of the evil one in heady, heartless self-righteousness.