“Forgiveness is vitally important for the mental health of those who have been victimized. Forgiveness has been shown to elevate mood, enhance optimism, and guard against anger, stress, anxiety, and depression.” Psychology Today
As humans we experience hurt. Hurt can be intentional or unintentional. It can be inflicted by family, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers.
It is inevitable that we will experience and cause hurt, offense, feelings of ill will!
Given these facts then why is forgiveness so hard?
Often we make forgiveness more than it is. There is a difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. We must consider, forgiveness is internal, it does not depend upon someone apologizing nor does it require reconciliation (resuming prior relationship).
According to Psychology Today extending forgiveness to someone allows
You to forgive yourself. We often hold on to feelings of resentment that we allowed certain things to occur. When we forgive we acknowledge what happened, we accept our role be it passive or active in the situation. We can then let resentment and hurt be replaced with healing.
Get out of the role of victim. No longer allow negative energy of the circumstance control you, you can begin to focus on yourself not on what happened. You do not have to pretend it did not happen or that things are back to the way it was before.
Frees you. Can focus on positive things, you take power back.
Helps your health. Negative emotions take toll on your body, mind, and spirit. Anger, anxiety, depression, stress can lead to high blood pressure and elevated heart rate (which is damaging to your heart when sustained), and a feeling of loss of control.
Helps you move forward on your spiritual path. Encourages compassion, acts of kindness, and goodness can lead to peace.
Colossians 3: 13 NIV Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Mark 11: 25 NIV And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
Matthew 6: 14-15 MSG In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.
Ephesians 4: 31-32 MSG Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.
Proverbs 10: 12 AMP Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers and overwhelms all transgressions [forgiving and overlooking another’s faults].