An Excerpt from "Living A Life That Matters, ch. 4"
"Are you strong enough to forgive? Or is the notion of getting even the only power you have over someone who has hurt you?" Forgiveness, I try to tell them, is a favor we do ourselves, not a favor we do the the other guy.
...you read in the book of Deuteronomy (23:7), "You shall not hate an Egyptian because you were strangers in his land." You are not to hate the Egyptians for having mistreated you so badly, not because they deserve your forgiveness but because you deserve better than to be permanently mired in the bitterness of the past. As long as your soul is corroded by hatred, you are still their slave.
At the Passover Seder, when (we) celebrate the memory of the Exodus from Egypt, we taste a bitter herb before the meal to recall the bitterness of slavery, then immediately override the bitter taste with matzo and wine, which are symbols of liberation (freedom!). (we are now free from all bondage because of YHWH's words to us...don't hate, forgive!)
Once we realize that the thirst for revenge is really a need to reclaim power (that the person or situation held over us) and shed the role of victim, we can find ways of meeting that need without hurting another person and compromising our own goodness.
I like the words about not having to compromise our own good. I have read that the Jewish people believe that it is their duty (since they were chosen to receive YHWH's instructions) to bring good (G-D) into the world. So likewise, if we are the children of Israel it is our job as well and when we lash out and do hurtful things, we are not fulfilling that role.
Please understand when I make this note, I do understand how complicated it is to work through situations where forgiveness is required. I do know that deep hurt is often involved along with many other emotions. I will not attempt to minimize this topic...it is not small. We too have had to deal with these topics. I write these words to myself, to remember and encourage myself that we must move forward. When I stop being able to move forward, then I am bound. YHWH doesn't want me bound to anyone or anything but Him. I am thankful knows our needs.
I thought this was a timely observation, being so close to Passover.