In reading over some of Philip Yancey's comments in his devotional, "Grace Notes", I am reminded of that powerful admonition and am more convinced than ever that unforgiveness is a worse burden and punishment upon me than on the one who hurt me. Is there someone that you have not been able to forgive? Maybe if you think on a few things today, you could begin the journey to heal... by forgiving them.
Don't stop here now, read on. When you dwell on what someone has done to you, without having forgiven them, you enter into the rat trap. Perpetually, you will run circles on the path of pain – blame – pain – blame, ad infinitum. The only way to break that cycle is to break the chain around your neck that keeps you bound to the cause of the situation. And the only way to do that is to seek God to guide you and help you to forgive that person and break the bondage to your pain.
Another consequence of forgiving someone who has sinned against you and hurt you deeply, is that it opens a unique opportunity for the offender to be loosened from their own guilt about what they've done. Did you ever think that they, too, may be in a stranglehold? They may never respond that way, but you can never know unless you forgive them. Even if they're in jail for their wrongdoing, knowing they are forgiven by the one they have hurt has a powerful influence which may, just may, open their heart to a restoration with God and others.
Lastly, forgiving someone for their actions against you allows you to take a break from hating them and just may give you pause to think, "There, but for the grace of God, go I". Yes, this forgiveness thing is more important than you think; it really frees you from that dark pit of anger, hatred and revenge. "But they won't get what they deserve", you cry out. Be careful, compadre, because of Jesus, you didn't get what you deserve, either! Endure the fire... It's producing pure gold!