Sometimes forgiveness is difficult. One hurt piles on top of another, then another, then another...and for months, even years you may carry that weight on your shoulders. Perhaps you want to forgive, but you're afraid that forgiving will make you vulnerable, or it will make you open game for that person to harm you again. I know. I've been there. I AM there.
Where can we start? I was reading through some verses I highlighted with every bright utensil I could find (apparently I wanted to draw my future self's attention to these verses again) and right after, discovered some quotes on the same matter. It's there that the answer found me: start with yourself, and also start with praying for that person.
"Put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another."
"Praying about a person we need to forgive is the means by which we tip the pitcher heavenward and slowly begin to pour our negative feelings and frustrations out to God."
Beth Moore "Praying God's Word"
Now listen closely...this part is especially important. How do I know? Because it is cross-referenced from the Old Testament to the New Testament...apparently someone thought it was important enough to reinstate:
"Don't sin by letting anger control you.
Think about it overnight and remain silent."
"Stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And "don't sin by letting anger control you." Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he had identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you."
Perhaps you feel that you have already failed. You allowed anger to control you. You constantly felt the bitterness in your heart. But now you can change that. Ask for God's forgiveness, forgive yourself, and forgive the person you feel wronged you. Pray for them. Pray for yourself to have the ability to forgive in compassion. It's not always easy. But that's why we need God to intervene.
"May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May he send you help."