It is not easy to have a forgiving spirit. In fact it is a real step of courage and will; having to acquire the task to forgive those who have wronged us in the past.
There are some who may have hurt you more than others, and it may seem nearly impossible to forgive that person. But one thing we need to realize is that when we are bitter and unforgiving, we are held captive to the wounds of our oppressor. And unless we choose to forgive, we will remain a prisoner to those wounds.
"He that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass if he would ever reach heaven; for everyone has need to be forgiven."
In Ephesians 4:31 Paul tells us to "let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice."
And in the book of Hebrews we are warned that bitterness can negatively affect our lives and the lives of those around us.
We have been given the simple advice to "forgive as Christ has forgiven us" (Col. 3:13).
Is this not a small task to carry out in return for what Christ did for us?
C.S. Lewis states: "To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you."
Forgiveness is an act of will - not of feeling.
Neil Anderson writes: "Don't wait to forgive until you feel like forgiving. You will never get there. Feelings take time to heal after the choice to forgive is made."
Did you read that correctly? He states that forgiveness is a choice.
We are in charge of making that decision to forgive. We do not rely on waiting around for the time when it feels right to forgive.
Anderson continues to say that "if your forgiveness doesn't visit the emotional core of your life, it will be incomplete."
We need to acknowledge that it hurt, but choose to extend forgiveness to those who hurt us. Only then can we truly be released from the captivity of the enemy.
"Forbearing one another,
and forgiving one another,
if any man have a quarrel against any:
even as Christ forgave you,
so also do ye."