Forgiveness is almost universally misunderstood. Words conjure up images and impressions that change what a term really means. When the word forgiveness comes up, the image it usually brings up is something like a bible – thumping preacher shaking his finger at a congregation, explaining what Jesus expects from everyone.
Does it make sense to let someone off the hook when what they did festers as hate and resentment ? It makes no sense to say “Its o.k., I can and will live with what you did. Now lets get on with life. God bless you brother.”
That is not what forgiveness accomplishes. Suppose you loan someone $1000 and no matter what, you can’t get them to repay the loan. At sometime you come to understand that the money is lost. Worry and fret but you will never see that $1000 again. So, you write it off, and spend your time doing things that are actually productive. This is called forgiving a loan.
All forgiveness works the same way. Resenting and hating a perpetrator takes time and energy. The perpetrator goes on with his life. Your negative emotions have no effect on him. The loss is yours. That is when forgiveness kicks in. You dispense of negative feelings for your own well – being. After forgiving, you are free again.