I have always told people that forgiveness means you hold no feeling of revenge for a person who has hurt you. I know it is difficult for people to verbally forgive someone who has deeply hurt them so I tell them that it is not necessary to do that in order to forgive. Of course God might want the person to actually forgive the person, and if so, He will give them the courage to forgive.
The most important thing is for those who have undergone years of hurt is for them to go through a grieving process while devoting themselves to daily prayer and devotions. Once they get to the end of that process, they will be able to release feelings of anger, hatred, and revenge. Although Hebrews 12:15 speaks of “bitter root” as disbelief, the same principle can be used in the issue of forgiveness—we forgive (by releasing negative emotions aimed at a person and turning them over to God) so that we will not have a bitter root growing in our heart. A bitter root that grows from unforgiveness obstructs worship.
Copyright © 2009 M. Teresa Trascritti