When you forgive someone do you feel like you're letting them off the hook? Do you feel like you're making an excuse for their behavior? Contrary to what we may think, forgiveness isn't any of these things. It's not saying that what's wrong is okay. It's not forgetting hurt feelings. Forgiveness is extending grace. It's commanded by God, and it's something you can do for others . . . and for yourself.
Notice the word "give" in "forgive." When you forgive, you give someone a gift − you waive a penalty − and you give yourself the gift of grudge-free living. When you withhold forgiveness, you not only refuse to offer what God has given to you, but you also hurt yourself. Unforgiveness bears down on your heart and gets in the way of spiritual growth. God knows it's not easy to forgive, but He wouldn't ask you to do something without giving you the strength to do it! Ask Him for the ability to forgive freely as you have been forgiven. He's the Master of the impossible!
"Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (Colossians 3:12-13)
"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32)
"Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made." (Matthew 18:23-25)