It (forgiveness) can ease sadness in the forgiven and eliminate bitterness in the one who does the forgiving.- TableTalk devotional on 1 John 1:8-9
A while back, I spoke with someone whom I had wronged deeply. I felt the need to address this long-standing offense even though the relationship was amicable, even loving on the surface of it.
Confession is good for the soul they say, but my guilt consisted not just in the immediate harm I had caused, but in the lingering effects, though hidden, of my sin upon the other.
Much more than forgiveness, I desired rest for my loved one from whatever underlying hurt remained as the result of my unconfessed offense.
Bitterness cherished in the heart is a corrosive thing. That it can exist undetected (unless we are careful to look into our hearts) makes it all the more destructive.
It is a heart-achingly sad thing to know that we might have been the cause of pain, anger and bitterness in the heart of another. This was the reason for the conversation I mentioned. That I felt I was not alone in my responsibility made no difference. The need was for me to address the offense, to offer relief and release.
My sin is my responsibility. I confess it. I apologize sincerely.
"I forgive you," was the simple response to my apology. May God grant a truly forgiving and peaceful heart to you.