Above all else, remember that true forgiveness depends on God’s grace. If you try to forgive others on your own, you are in for a long and frustrating battle. But if you ask God to change your heart and you continually rely on his grace, you can forgive even the most painful offenses.
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) pp. 217-218.
Food for Thought
His disregard for my wife sowed a seed of bitterness in my own heart.
My wife and I once attended a conference, and during one activity, we were split up and sent into separate groups for a simulation. During the “game,” a man crushed my wife’s spirit. Later as she told me about it with tears and pointed out the man across the meeting hall, I marked him in my mind and said to myself, “If that man ever applies to work with our organization, I will do everything in my power to keep him out.”
The seed of bitterness had sprouted.
Later that evening as we walked about for some fresh air, God brought fresh perspective. I realized that if I were to hold that grudge, I would be in error. First, I was assuming that my judgment of that man was correct. It was as if God was saying, “Leave that to me.” Second, I was assuming that my “sentence” was appropriate to his crime. Again, God seemed to whisper, “Leave that to me.” Finally, and most humbling, holding a grudge was like shaking my fist at Christ on the cross and shouting, “NO! It’s NOT finished! I have the right to make that man pay.”
When I realized what holding a grudge meant to my Savior, the grudge weed came up root and all.