There are a lot of assumptions, I find, made about the nature of forgiveness which people then find almost impossible to put into practice. Chief among them is a sense of guilt that they can’t or don’t want to forgive the person who hurt them. Desmond Tutu talks much helpful sense:
‘Forgiving requires giving voice to the violations and naming the pains that we have suffered. Forgiving does not require that we carry our suffering in silence or that we be martyrs on a cross of lies. Forgiveness does not mean that we pretend things are anything other than they are.
I am hurt, we say. I am betrayed, we announce. I am in pain and grief. I have been treated unfairly. I am feeling ashamed. I am angry this has been done to me. I am sad and I am lost.
I may never forget what you have done to me, but I will forgive. I will do everything in my power not to let you harm me again. I will not retaliate against you or against myself.’
– The Book of Forgiving, Desmond Tutu