I think the first step is to understand that forgiveness does not exonerate the perpetrator. Forgiveness liberates the victim. It’s a gift you give yourself. ~ T.D. Jakes
I struggle with forgiveness sometimes. We have all acted in ways that hurt another person. When we do, a simple “I’m sorry.” can go a long way. I truly believe that we should treat other people the way we would like to be treated. I try to live my life by that standard and when I fail, which is more often than I would like, I apologize for my words or actions that hurt the other person. Admitting that I have made a mistake is not always easy, but I believe it starts the healing process and can eventually bring me to reconciliation with the one(s) I have wronged.
What happens, though, when we don’t have the satisfaction of receiving an apology from someone who has wronged us or hurt us deeply? Does this mean that because forgiveness was not asked for, it should not be given?
Most of us need time to work through pain and loss. We can find all manner of reasons for postponing forgiveness. One of these reasons is waiting for the wrongdoers to repent before we forgive them. Yet such a delay causes us to forfeit the peace and happiness that could be ours.- James E. Faust
I think Faust said it perfectly in the above quote. Perhaps the individual that sees no wrong in his actions or words never will comprehend the extent of the hurt he has caused, but by holding on to that hurt and pain, we hurt only ourselves and not the other person. Of course, forgiving does not mean we must subject ourselves to additional pain. There is no value in setting ourselves up for misery by remaining in situations that drain us or around people who tear us down.
By that albeit difficult step of letting go of grievances and forgiving, we make progress toward our goal of being the best person we can be.