When you forgive, you aren’t saying that what happened was okay. You aren’t saying that who did it to you was justified. However you are saying that it isn’t your place to exact judgment or revenge.
To continue to hold a grudge over something doesn’t punish the criminal, but yourself. You hold yourself hostage. It is better to give the situation over to God – the true judge – and let justice happen when and how it is best.
When you hand things that are too heavy over to God, you are not only lightening your load, you are also handing them over to the One who is the most able to handle them. Leave it with the expert – God. You don’t need to carry it anymore.
The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:19
19 Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord.
He is referring to the verses in Deuteronomy 32:35, where God says:
“Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay. In time their foot will slip, for their day of disaster is near, and their doom is coming quickly.”
Also, consider these words from Psalm 27:1-3
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom should I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom should I be afraid?
2 When evildoers came against me to devour my flesh,
my foes and my enemies stumbled and fell.
3 Though an army deploys against me,
my heart is not afraid;
though a war breaks out against me,
still I am confident.
However, consider also the words of Jesus in Luke 23:34, when he was on the cross, being tormented and attacked –
Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.”
He didn’t call on God to avenge. He called on God to forgive. Now we often aren’t that spiritually evolved, especially when we are in the middle of the situation. However, we aren’t alone in our struggles. We have Jesus to help us.
(All Bible translations are HCSB.)