I'm convinced that our mental and physical health depends on our attitude toward others and how we treat them. Included in this is forgiveness. In fact, if I could choose the one gift from God that I personally need to have and to give, it would be the gift of forgiveness both for others and for myself (by the way, have you forgiven yourself, dear reader?!).
Maltbie Babcock wrote years ago: "How sure we are of our own forgiveness from God. How certain we are that we are made in His image, when we forgive heartily and out of hand one who has wronged us. Sentimentally we may feel, and lightly we may say, `To err is human, to forgive divine;' but we never taste the nobility and divinity of forgiving till we forgive and know the victory of forgiveness over our sense of being wronged, over mortified pride and wounded sensibilities. Here we are in living touch with Him who treats us as though nothing had happened -- who turns His back upon the past, and bids us journey with Him into goodness and gladness, into newness of life."
God asks that we do the same for others and ourselves.
We all know someone we are reluctant to forgive, for whatever reason. There's that bit of pride that hides in the corner of our heart and flashes out to bite us when that certain person digs in with sarcasm and corrodes our self-esteem. After being bitten royally one day--again--I asked myself if someone else had said this same thing, would it have bothered me so much? What a surprise to realize that I wouldn't have thought once much less twice about it. But it was this person! Why? I still haven't figured it out!
But it was at that moment I realized that my attitude was wrong, and that I'm only hurting myself, not the other person who probably isn't even aware of what is happening. So I am learning to treat this person as though nothing had happened.
If there is one certainty in life, it is this: love never fails! What a revelation and relief to finally put aside how I feel and to will a love that only God can give. The great gift is that I truly love this person now!