Are you punishing? Why not forgive?

Unforgiveness is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.

Unforgiveness hurts me.

I am trying to punish them for the hurt they caused me. 

I may withdraw from them or not speak to them. 
.... Or I might say something hurtful back or do something to hurt them. 
.... Or I might say bad things about them to others.

Sometimes, they don’t even know that they have hurt me, but they may have hurt me intentionally. Regardless of the situation, God does not appoint me to be the judge or jury. I do not determine their guilt or punishment.

When I hold onto the offense, I am holding a grudge. The poison of unforgiveness grows into bitterness and resentment.

I am bound to the person who hurt me.

I am worn out from dragging that ball and chain around. That person has power over my emotions, especially my anger.

The unforgiveness turns me into a bitter person - not just bitter towards the person who hurt me but towards anyone around me. When I am full of bitterness and get bumped, bitterness spills out on those around me.

See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled. Hebrews 12:15

God is the one to punish the person who hurt me. He cautions me against taking revenge.

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord….. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:19, 21

Why not forgive?

If God commands me to forgive and forgiveness benefits me, why would I not want to forgive?

1. I want to punish the other person. 
    God says that is His job, not mine. God doesn’t punish me; He forgives me.
2. They don’t deserve to be forgiven.
    I receive forgiveness because of God’s grace; I don’t deserve it. I can show grace to others.
3. They didn’t ask for forgiveness.
    God tells us to forgive - period. It is not conditional. Often, that person doesn’t even know that there is an offense.
4. If I forgive, it sends a message that what they did was ok. 
    No, I can forgive the person without agreeing with the behavior.
5. If I forgive, they may do it again. 
    Yes, they might do it again. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that I don’t confront sin or express how I feel.
6. If I forgive, I may get hurt again. 
    Yes, I might get hurt again. Forgiveness doesn’t exclude putting parameters on the relationship.

SEE our previous post on forgiveness.