Free Your Soul From Its Chains
Many people are confused about forgiveness, thinking that it is a feeling, that we have to be ready to forgive someone, etc.
Not forgiving someone though, doesn't punish the perpetrator, it just holds you captive to the original hurt. This is just ONE of the reasons Jesus urged us to forgive, and we should if we are obedient to Him.
Forgiveness is NOT a Feeling, it's a Legal Transaction. When we sin against someone, it creates a debt we owe them, or when they sin against us, it creates a debt they owe us.
A great exercise you can try is:
1.) Recall a person's name from your past who has hurt you (either big or small, whoever you are ready for).
2.) Talk to God about them without fear and Speak Out Loud to God every detail of what they did to you and how it made you feel.
3.) Then, after you've finished speaking everything they did and what it made you feel, say to God, "Please don't hold them accountable for what they did to me."
After doing this, you are likely to feel a spiritual release in proportion to the size of the sin forgiven.
This exercise is powerful because it makes you realize as you say it, that if you don't say it, God WILL hold them accountable for what they did to you. Which elevates your appreciation for God's love and care for you.
If they are not a Christian and you don't say this, their sin against you will remain on them and be part of what sends them to hell.
If they are a Christian, and you don't say it, then this sin against you will be part of the sin burden that Jesus bore on the cross. Therefore, it could be argued that by asking God not to hold them accountable, you are actually lightening Jesus' load, even if a just a tiny bit compared with the entire sin debt of the world.