I know Jesus said we're supposed to forgive people who've hurt us, but why bother? As far as I can tell, it doesn't really change them, nor does it make the hurts go away.
Admittedly, forgiving someone who’s hurt us doesn’t always change them. Instead, they may laugh at us, or cynically accuse us of being insincere and only trying to manipulate them. They also may keep blaming us for what happened, just as they’ve always done. But occasionally it will change them—sometimes in surprising ways.
But let me tell you what will happen if you truly forgive someone who has hurt you. No, it may not change them, but it will change you. You see, an unforgiving spirit produces all kinds of negative emotions in us—anger, bitterness, depression, jealousy, hate, and so forth. Any of those easily becomes a spiritual and emotional poison, eating away at our souls and turning us into unloving (and unlovable) people. This is why the Bible commands us to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger” (Ephesians 4:31).
How can you forgive someone who has hurt you? You may think it’s impossible—but with God’s help you can. The key is first to accept God’s forgiveness, by receiving the free gift of salvation He offers you in Jesus Christ. We don’t deserve God’s forgiveness, but on the cross all of our sins were placed in Christ, and He took the judgment we deserve. Have you turned to Him for the forgiveness you need?
Then forgive others the same way Christ has forgiven you—freely and fully. Not only will God release you from an unforgiving spirit, but He even may use you to change the life of the person you’ve forgiven.