There was this one time when I was meant to share for a Children's camp. I had preached in Children's Church before but not at a camp. I was excited! God had given me something to share about and I to see what He would do through me. We finished praise, we finished worship and then I was getting ready and praying my heart out and then… my pastor gets up and closes the session. Right before I was about to share! I was standing there in shock and experienced a barrage of thoughts and emotions. It felt like I had been shot down! They had taken my opportunity. It was gone. When they realised they apologised profusely. I knew they meant it so at the time I said I forgave them. But I knew in my heart I didn't mean it. I didn't mean it at all! It took me a while after wards to bring it to Jesus and get to the place where I truly forgave them. After I did it felt so good! It felt a burden has been lifted and I was at peace with it.
I know this example my not seem like a 'big deal' to some, but perception is another reason as to why we can be hasty in with our sorry. We may not think that what we said or did was a big deal, but to the other person it was. It may seem like nothing to us but caused some sort of emotional distraught to someone else. You may even think "it wasn't my fault". In this, put any pride aside and don't avoid the situation. Un-Forgiveness breeds hate and resentment, two ways the enemy can easily slip in and before long anything good in the relationship has turned into bitterness. Not pretty or nice!
Don't take apologies lightly. If you find yourself in a situation where you can't forgive the person, take time, bring it to Jesus. Be honest with him. Talk with him about it and say how horrible everything is and how hurt you are. Get to the place where you see it through His eyes so when you are ready you can forgive. I am not condoning in any way, shape or form to avoid forgiveness. We all know the verse in Luke 17:3-4:
"If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him." And in Colossians 3:13 in The Amplified versions it says says: "Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]."
What I am saying is that if you are going to say it, mean it. Don't throw your words around. Forgiveness helps us to live with each other! It helps us to get along a live a life that isn't filled with anger and resentments. In the word we are given tools to help each other live lives in the fullness that God wants us too. Don't put off forgiveness but ask Jesus to help you to forgive if you feel you can't. He wants you to be free.
Free is what a person who forgives looks like.
"If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him."
Luke 17:3-4 (NIV)
"Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]."
Colossians 3:13 (AMP)