We get stuck with forgiving when looking for logical reasons to forgive. We often say “I can’t forgive” or “I don’t know how to forgive” because we are looking for a good reason to forgive. The problem is you may never find a “good” reason.
Forgiveness challenges us to be compassionate, to offer kindness to someone who seemingly doesn’t deserve it. We may think, “Why should I be nice to the person who has hurt me?” This is the logical mind at work, and this logical mind isn’t going to forgive.
Is it logical that Jesus asked the Lord to forgive the people that were killing him? Ordinary people would pray that those killing them suffer for their actions. That’s because ordinary people are conditioned to “fight fire with fire.”
But if you are practicing spiritual life, you are supposed to fight fire with water. You fight” abuse with kindness; hurt with compassion; hatred with love.
Compassion for the person who hurt you is a powerful way to overcome resentment. I know this can be difficult to do. Yet when we tell ourselves this is too difficult, we are also telling ourselves, “I can’t forgive.”
I have personally found that not forgiving is more difficult than forgiving. This is because resentment is a huge and painful burden to carry.
We like to think of ourselves as spiritual people, yet we need to acknowledge how non-spiritual our actions often are. If we want to hurt someone who harmed us, that’s not spiritual. If we cannot respond to mistreatment with understanding and tolerance, that is not spiritual.
Forgiveness is an act of the heart. It happens automatically when you relinquish the need and desire to punish another person. Forgiveness challenges you to come to a higher level of consciousness.