When I was a child, forgiveness meant nothing to me. I had arguments with my sisters, hated my parents for this or that, or wanted something I couldn't have, but the next day the slate was clean. Up I got, ready for whatever the day would bring. Yes, I had childhood fears, but no one in the family talked about forgiveness as relevant to anything around me.
As a teenager, I had issues. My older sister married young and left me to cope with an unstable mother. Those years of trying to deal with her, as well as the pressures of adolescence, were often horrendous. My parents gave me one choice for college, close to home and live at home, so no relief came in that direction either. My father was present, but not present emotionally. Still, there was never a moment when forgiveness came up as a topic of conversation.
By the time I married, the pattern was set. I took what was dished out and didn't argue; anything was better than abuse from disagreeing. I tried everything to break that pattern but nothing worked. You could say I tried forgiveness as a last resort. But still, I didn't get it right. I thought forgiveness was given for the sake of others. Not until I gave it for my sake did I understand its power. Forgiveness didn't make the lives of others easier; it made my life easier. Forgiveness didn't erase what had happened; it turned that pain into growth. Forgiveness didn't change the people with whom I struggled; it changed how I viewed them. But don't trust my analysis. You'll never believe it works until you try it and see what happens.