Many people have a difficult time forgiving those that have transgressed against them. This is completely understandable, but what is not so clear is why it is a good idea to try to forgive our transgressors. There are many psychological, philosophical, and religious theories about forgiveness but it is still one of the most difficult things for people to do. Forgiveness is difficult on the individual level all the way up to the level of countries just one look around the world, television, and online reveals that people celebrate holding on to grudges and refusing to forgive others.
According to an article written by medical doctor Alex Lickerman for psychologytoday.com there are at least six reasons people have difficulties forgiving others. One reason is that people have a tendency to not want to let go of their anger. Reason two people feel justified in their anger because of what was done to them. Reason three people may think that if they forgive, then the person that is forgiven will not face justice. The fourth reason is that people want retribution, they want their transgressor to experience the same pain they have experienced. Reason five is that the person has not asked for forgiveness or apologized. The sixth reason is that people have lost the ability to see their transgressor as a person who can do good deeds in the world.
The reason we should forgive people is not for the sake of the other person, although many will say that is part of the reason. The reason we should forgive others is so that we can move on and let go of any hatred or anger we may have because that hatred and anger is physically, mentally, and spiritually damaging. If you hold onto to your anger at another person then you permanently skew your view of the world and the people in it, and it becomes easy to hold onto anger at more and more people thus increasing and intensifying the damage to yourself.
To forgive a person does not mean that you have to physically go to the person and say I forgive you. Forgiving a person does not mean that you have to become best friends with the person. All it means is that you let go of the anger that you have towards that person. One suggestion is to write the person’s name down on a piece of paper and say I forgive you and burn it or throw the paper in a river, lake, or ocean and watch your anger burn or float away. The important thing is to try to move on and let go of your anger and you may find that you actually pity the person who has transgressed you.