Here is some good rambling for you!
I am reading a book right now about anger and becoming offended. I will not share the name of the book, because I disagree with the author on a number of his interpretations of scripture and some of his ideas. I am still reading, however, because he makes some really intersesting points about forgiveness. I really like that he clearly states that truth should not be compromised in order to keep people from becoming offended. However, when we become offended by people, we give Satan a foothold in our life. Being offended leads to bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment, hatred, and a plethera of other sins. I am realizing that having an unforgiving heart comes down to having a selfish heart. God is infinitely forgiving of me and of whoever I might be offended by. It is my job to give myself in total self-donating love to that person; to show them Christ's love. It doesn't matter what I feel that person's obligations are. It's MY obligation to pour myself out to that person without hesitation.
One thing that has really spoken to my heart lately, is the story of David forgiving King Saul (1 Samuel 24). Basically, Saul and David come back from battle and all the women in the town talk about how many more men David killed than Saul. Saul becomes offended by this, and soon pursues David with the intent of killing him. Twice David has the opportunity to take Saul's life. And, in fact, was encouraged to do so by a companion. I mean, if God gave them a situation where David could get rid of a man trying to kill him, why wouldn't he take it? But David refuses both times. David knew that Saul was the Lord's annointed. He knew that God would deal with him. Why can't we see that an opportunity to get revenge is also an opportunity to have mercy?
I tend to hold grudges. Often times, I feel that I have forgiven someone but when a memory comes back to me - about something that I was offended about - I feel resentment towards that person again. I am struggling with how to keep forgiveness in my heart. So, here are some thoughts on forgiveness that I have been studying.
The definition of Forgiveness (From the American Heritage Dictionary):
1. To excuse for a fault or an offense; pardon.
2. To renounce anger or resentment against.
3. To absolve from payment of (a debt, for example).
"Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it."
"Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less."
"A man is as big as the things that make him angry."
"A stiff apology is a second insult."
"To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it."
1 Samuel 24 (David forgives Saul)
Genesis 45 (Joseph forgives his brothers)
Luke 23:34 (Jesus forgives his enemies)
"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you."
-Lewis B. Smedes