Forgiveness is a key to spiritual progress. Forgiving someone is an act of love and a sign of spiritual maturity.
If we don’t learn to forgive the injustices done to us, we do not receive the forgiveness of God for our transgressions. Look at the Lord’s prayer: there is only one requirement for us identified in it: forgive our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. We forgive to become free of the disease of resentment, which eats away our peace, our love, and our happiness. We forgive and don’t take revenge, knowing that vengeance is reserved to God: Vengeance is mine. Deu 32:35, Rom 12:17-19
The challenge for all of us in this life is to forgive and forget. We can know something is wrong, attempt to forgive in our mind, but can’t forget; which prevents us from forgiving in our heart. The symptom of this bondage is to constantly recall the circumstances of the injustices and replay them in our minds, which only reinforces our resentment of the original injustice.
Jesus Christ is our example. As He was crucified, He prayed for the Father to forgive those who were crucifying Him for they didn’t know what they were doing. He is the ultimate example of forgiveness.
There is no greater injustice than for His own people to have crucified Him, when He had healed entire cities of every sickness and disability, raised the dead, restored the sight of the blind, and spoke nothing but truth; yet as He was in unimaginable pain and dying, He prayed for their forgiveness.
By His monumental forgiveness of those who murdered Him, we know there is never justification for us holding onto anger. He was sorrowful, with sorrow almost to death, knowing what would happen to Him. And His reaction was sorrow at the colossal injustices He suffered, but not anger; sorrow, not for Himself, but sorrow for how wrong His errant children were.
There are many who justify their anger saying: “the Lord got angry when he drove the money-changers out of the temple.” Actually, He was not angry like a man gets angry; He was under perfect control and knew exactly what He was doing, for he said He never judged anything Himself, but only as He heard the Father’s judgments; further He only said what He heard the Father tell Him to say, and only did what the Father showed Him to do.
Anger is a judgment that we make ourselves, and when we judge someone else critically, we suffer the same judgment: Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37