A recent post by a fellow blog writer got me thinking about forgiveness and its role in our lives. Some people I know have said that it's not our place to forgive the doings of others, but God's. And yet doesn't the Lord's Prayer say to "forgive those who trespass against us"?
We tend to more easily remember the bad things in our lives than the good things. Perhaps that's related to our instinct to flee from danger: it keeps us alive. But if we let our anger over the bad things take over, it might transform us into something else.
As an example, I have had four serious relationships in my life. The first one broke my heart, but I forgave because I knew that I was as much to blame. The second broke my heart twice, but I forgave (many years later) because he was weak and had never intended to keep his promises to me. The third broke my spirit, and that I have not yet forgiven and I doubt I will any time soon.
There are uncounted people who have suffered worse than I. How many victims of violence have been able to truly forgive the people that hurt them? Nobody can really answer that. It's a true test of character to be able to absolve someone and move ahead with one's life, but it's a necessary thing. Otherwise there will always be that kernel of anger inside that will fester and steal one's happiness.