Although we apologize, we atone, and we ask for forgiveness, there are times when forgiveness doesn’t come. That does not mean our actions are for naught, to the contrary. Except for the forgiveness that comes from God, there are lots of times forgiveness doesn’t come. We are not in control of someone else’s emotions, and for many forgiveness is not easily given.
When forgiveness doesn’t come that is not necessarily a bad thing, even though it hurts. This situation can school our own actions and emotions. We call on our own experience of not being forgiven when it is time to forgive. “Withholding forgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die” is an often used quote although it is not attributed to anyone in particular. When we remember how it feels when someone withholds forgiveness, it loosens love and compassion in us.
When you are faced with forgiving or not, recall a time when you forgave. I bet that time forgiveness wasn’t easy and required humility, but remember how it felt and how it improved your life. Memories are funny, we tend to remember pain more than we remember happiness and joy. So dig deep for the good memories, the treasure that is forgiveness is worth the work.