But seriously, I've noticed it in movies and TV, the person doing the forgiving always looks like they're communicating: "What you did is okay." But when I think about it, I don't see God telling people what they did was okay. Jesus told the adulteress to "sin no more," the old testament reveals that God loved his people very much and always took them back after they royally screwed up (and by worldly standards I haven't done half the stuff those people did!) BUT God would say "turn from your wicked ways." God's message was never "What you've done is okay," instead, it was, "I love you, and I forgive you." His forgiveness is so powerful He wanted us to pass on His type of forgiveness to others. He felt so strongly about it he said, "If you don't forgive others, I can't forgive you." I once read something by leading Christian speakers that Jesus didn't literally mean he wouldn't forgive us, and maybe that's true, they've studied the Word a lot more than me. But what else could it mean? I believe God used Jesus to move us in such ways that we lived our lives like him. If we really knew what that meant, for God to sacrifice Jesus for us, we would understand why Jesus wants us to forgive. It makes sense; if Jesus can forgive me of every bad thought, every imperfect deed, then shouldn't we want to forgive others because we know the extent God went to to extend it to us?
A few years ago I had a huge revelation. I was thinking about the extent God went to for us by allowing His Son to be sacrificed for our sins. The weight of that sat with me and I thought of forgiveness. It seemed so simple all of a sudden. Jesus died for EVERY SIN, knowing no one could ever be good enough. Since God died for others and not just me: anyone who'd ever offended me or deeply wounded me was also covered with Jesus' forgiveness. Their sin was already paid for by Jesus; I was free to let go of my anger and hurt. I'd like to say here that I never struggled with forgiving others or bitterness or anger or hurt ever again once the simplicity of Jesus' sacrifice was fully realized, but I'd be lying. The good news is, what the Holy Spirit revealed to me is still true every day.
Forgivness is a process, which leads me to lie number 2 on Forgiveness: You only have to do it once. Chances are, the person who hurt you will do something else, or days weeks or months or even years later you realize the affects of their actions and that bubbling resentment and hurt comes back. You don't just forgive once: you forgive several times, maybe even over a lifetime.
Lie number 3 is that you will feel a warm bubbly sensation whenever you forgive. Not true. If anything, you will have to fight the urge to not forgive. Feelings of peace, maybe even love for that person comes later, so don't trust your feelings: they keep you from experiencing the sweet release of freedom from the weight of carrying around your wounds.
I'm still implementing all of this into my life, but I know all of this is true. I hope it helps,