My beautiful wife had a birthday a couple of weeks ago. I asked her what she had learned in her thirty some odd years on this earth. She didn't have to consider the question very long. Her answer was one word,
I've watched what an unwillingness to forgive can do to a person and even an entire family. It slowly eats away at you. It controls you. It keeps you up at night. It destroys relationships.
I've also seen forgiveness set people free from long time bondage. It releases you. It strengthens you. It brings sweet rest.
There is a reason God tells us to be forgiving and it has very little to do with the person we are forgiving. It is because He knows that when we forgive we are set free! And He was serious and clear about it:
"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."
And the thing is, it's a choice. It's not an easy choice sometimes, but it's a choice nonetheless. It's a choice that forces you to step outside of yourself. It's a choice that keeps you from fretting about petty things. It's a choice that allows you to live life to the fullest, unencumbered by the weight of resentment.
If you are carrying around resentment right now, you are torturing yourself. And what's worse, the very person you can't seem to forgive is controlling your life! Forgive, move on, and if you can't do it alone then get help. Confess it, pray about it, own up to it. An unwillingness to forgive is just as bad as whatever sin you are having trouble forgiving!
And if you don't believe me...well, I forgive you!
Thus endeth the sermon.