From a divorce referral webpage:
Warnings of Dangers of Unforgiveness
and Dispelling Myths about Forgiveness
Dangerous Results Of Unforgiveness
“Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
1. Unforgiveness Is Progressive.
First there is a hurt. That hurt turns unto anger, then to bitterness, then to unforgiveness, and finally death, death of the relationship. What begins as a hurt over an offense will escalate if we do not forgive.
2. Unforgiveness Causes Us To Live With Accumulating Guilt.
If we do not forgive others for their sins and offenses against us, we do not receive God’s forgiveness, cleansing and release from sins we have committed.
Matthew 6:14-15 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
3. Unforgiveness Produces Stunted, Limited Growth.
Limited growth leads to limited joy, limited blessing, limited peace, and limited ministry.
4. Unforgiveness Makes Our World Progressively Smaller.
Each offense that remains unforgiven leads to a damaged or broken relationship
(parents, children, boss, neighbor, pastor, church, etc.).
5. Unforgiveness Causes Us To Live In A Prison Of Our Own Making.
When we hold someone in the prison of our unforgiveness and judgment, we become like a jailer who has to spend all his time focusing his attention on the prison cell and the person who is held there.
6. Unforgiveness Eventually Develops Into Bitterness, Which Is Like A Cancer Of The Soul.
The cancer of bitterness will grow and eat away at our character, our personality, our faith,
and even our health resulting in physical and mental illness.
Forgiveness means to give free pardon for an offense and to give up all claims to get back at another, (revenge). Jesus paid the price and through Christ we are forgiven.
God forgives completely as if it never happened and we will be forgiven as we forgive others. There is no limit to the number of times I can be forgiven or the number of times I need to forgive.
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15
Misconceptions Of Forgiveness
Forgive and forget.
I have to feel forgiveness.
Forgiveness will make me a doormat.
I have to have an ongoing relationship with the person.
What Are Some Reasons Why We Don’t Forgive
We want them to come to us first and ask us to forgive them.
We look for signs of repentance on their part and judge accordingly.
We hold on to “justified” unforgiveness.
We think they need to be taught a lesson
What Happens If I Don’t Forgive?
In Matthew 18:23-35: Jesus alerts us to the dangers of unforgiveness in this parable He told His disciples.
In this story a certain king forgave one of his slaves an enormous debt. But when this same slave was asked by a fellow slave to forgive a much smaller amount, he refused. The king heard of this and became angry and said to the slave
‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow slave, just as I had pity on you?’
And the king was angry, and delivered the slave to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
NOTE: This last concept was not translated or explained from Christian terms to secular everyday terms. But basically if we hold on to the attitude of anger or unforgiveness, we attract the same type of negative people and attitudes from others; so we get what we give, and can either be charitable and attract charity or be merciless and attract meanness and unforgiveness in others the same way.