Tracie Stier-Johnson's book 31 Days of Forgiveness has been a game changer in my life. The statement above by Tracie is one of many in her book that helped me realize extending forgiveness does not mean you're allowing someone to hurt you. Instead, forgiveness gives you the power to take your life back in not allowing the hurt to be the beginning of a nasty cycle of ill will toward that person. Guarding our hearts gives us the freedom to let God work in our lives the way He intends. When we don't protect our hearts, it's like we're suffocating in the gunk & blind to experience the beauty around us. How are we any different than those who have hurt us if we fire back with mean attacks? It certainly doesn't even the score. And trust me, I've been guilty of this & still have to work hard to keep my mouth & heart in check in extending grace to those that have hurt me and I fail. A lot. I have noticed that the more grace I extend, the more I'm able to forgive. It's a cycle. Extending forgiveness is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength.
I've passed this book onto friends, my (step) mom and sister. They've all had similar reactions. Some of those I've talked to realized they were holding onto anger toward people in their lives and they hadn't realized it until they read this book. I too had this feeling when I was done reading the book. In fact, I wrote letters to those that I had forgiven and it was a liberating feeling to be done with it, to truly let it go.
I've had the privilege to get to know Tracie (find her site here) & she walks the walk. She's the real deal. Her book really has changed my life. Perhaps it was the timing of it and that I was in a place to listen but I think if you have a desire to read this book, you're already halfway there. Making the decision to want to forgive is at least half of the battle. Tracie will give you the tools to make it happen.