I think it would be safe to say we’ve all declared, "I’ll never be able to forgive him/her,” at some point in time. Granted, those words are usually not literal … just a spontaneous reaction to a minor transgression that is quickly forgiven and forgotten. Unfortunately, it's not that easy with major transgressions. For those, we may carry the darkness of resentment for years, breeding nothing but anger and hatred.
In my book, And God Still Loves Me – A Journey from the Dark Abyss of Sin to God’s Mercy, I discuss one particular incident that haunted me for over thirty years: I was, as usual, drunk at a local bar and agreed to meet a man after closing to get "more acquainted". Unbeknownst to me, he invited a few of his friends … enough said. I never reported it, figuring it was my fault. I blocked out the incident for a while, but images began flashing through my mind. Reliving the painful and humiliating experience placed me on a perilous path of self-destruction and further away from God.
Catherine Ponder once said, “When you hold resentment towards another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” I may never be free from the memory of that night, but through counseling, prayer and opening my heart to forgiveness (for the perpetrators and myself), I am free from the darkness. Expelling resentment from the heart makes room for hope and serenity. Most importantly, it bridges the gap between us and a loving, compassionate and merciful God.
All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another,
compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.
Ephesians 4:31-32 (NABRE)