“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” Matthew 6:5&6
To forgive isn’t saying, “What you did is okay.” It’s saying, “The consequences of your behavior belong to God, not to me.” When you forgive, you transfer the person from your own system of justice to God’s. To forgive is to recognize that the wrong done against you is a debt of sin, and all sin is against God. Therefore, in forgiving, you transfer the debt from your ledger of accounts to God’s, leaving all recompense in his hands.
Resentment is like cancer. It’s there killing you, and sometimes you aren’t even aware of it. Resentment is usually the result of something in the past that was supposed to be resolved or forgiven, but for whatever reason never was. As a result, there is anger left over, and that anger becomes burning (or smoldering) resentment. Many people are not aware of the resentment festering deep within them, but it lies beneath everything they do, say, and think.
Forgiveness always involves the moral side of life. It involves our sense of right and wrong, of fairness and of justice. It also involves our sense of love, compassion and mercy. When someone violates us with a seemingly unforgivable act, at least some of these values have been violated.
We are all familiar with the phrases, ‘stuffing our feelings’ and ‘stuffing our face.’ There is a connection! Many of us never have experienced the gift of anger because we stuff our anger by stuffing our face. One minute you are feeling upset and the next thing you know, you are in front of the open refrigerator!