God asks His children to forgive others as He has forgiven us. Yet, forgiving someone who has hurt you is probably one of the hardest lessons to learn. It is human nature to hold on to the hurt and want some kind of compensation for the unpleasant feelings, but God asks us time and time again to forgive the sins of others, even when those sins are against us.
As Jesus was being crucified, he called out to his Father, asking Him to forgive the very people who were torturing him. Even through his pain, he forgave his tormenters.
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. —Luke 23:34, KJV
It can be intimidating to try to live like Jesus. Humans are not perfect; we make mistakes, we get hurt, we have unforgiveness in our hearts. But harboring unforgiveness toward others only hurts us more. It’s like a poison that spreads through the spirit and it can keep us from God’s best.
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. —Matthew 6:14-15, KJV
Since God is willing to overlook your sins when you have repented and asked for forgiveness, then He fully expects you to forgive your fellow man. But how do we do this? How do we forgive someone who hurts us? We give it to God.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. —Romans 12:19, KJV
It is not your job to worry about the person who hurt you. It is not your job to get them back or make them pay. God has given His children the mercy and grace to forgive others, and the ability to let the pain go. We are to be kind to one another and give our cares over to God.
It is important to remember that we do not do things for ourselves, we do not do them for others, but we do everything unto God. So while we need to forgive others in order to heal ourselves, it is ultimately for God that we must forgive. He had the grace to forgive us our sins through the death of His son, which was the ultimate sacrifice, that in return we should also forgive.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. —Ephesians 4:32, KJV
But what about when you see someone on a regular basis who has hurt you? Forgiving them may seem like you have condoned their behavior and are perhaps afraid of sending the wrong message. God tells us to move on. Let Him take the worry while you live in peace. There is no need to worry about what the other person may think. It only matters what God thinks. And He has reassured us that He will fight our battles and win. We only need to enjoy life and live to please God.
The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. —Exodus 14:14, KJV
Perhaps one of the hardest things to do also is to forgive ourselves. How often do we sin or make a mistake and then carry around guilt? Self-condemnation is not pleasing to God; He does not wish us to judge ourselves any more than He wants us to judge others. Ask for forgiveness and then move on. God loves His children and wishes us to love one another as He loves us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. —1 John 1:9, KJV