Unforgiveness turns a mild disagreement into a cataclysmic event. Holding onto something another person did to wrong us is like holding a fire in our hearts. If the fire has diminished into a flicker then we can go back to the incident and fan the flame. The heat from it can create damage to internal organs and spiritual lines of communication. It cauterizes and creates callouses in places that are intended to be soft and receptive.
Unforgiveness makes our ears deaf and eyes blind to the person who has wronged us. All we perceive of them is the wrong they have done so that they might as well be wearing a striped convict's uniform. The smoke from the burning memory makes the convict's intentions hard to see. If they have apologized, we miss it. Letting go of their wrong and forgiving them will mean we lose the powerful feeling that we are in control of teaching them a lesson. And why make ourselves vulnerable to repeated assaults by the same obstinate people? What if we forget what they've done? What will our ammunition be if they hurl accusations at us?
Unforgiveness puts up a spiked wall around our hearts. We think that we are protected when we are actually trapped; the spikes pointing toward our hearts. Perhaps the wrongdoers have already forgiven themselves, attempted to make amends, and are free to learn from their mistakes. But the unforgiving ones cannot get away from the smoke and destruction of a bad deed remembered and relived.
So what becomes of an imperfect person? Without grace we are lost forever. God forgives and forgets and so the imperfect are slowly made perfect. Forgiveness brings a wrongdoer into the light of love and shows them their mistake within that light. Look what you've done. Now...know that when you own what you have done and feel for a moment the gravity of the thing, it will vanish forever. You are sorry and He sees that. The best words anyone can hear from God at that point are: "It's OK." You mean, Lord, that it's OK to make mistakes? It's not the end of the world for me?
God will never drudge up past mistakes to bring us to our knees. The Accuser is the one who tries to ignite those old memories and destroy our hope in the flames. Living Water quenches those accusations with the power of perfect shed blood. When we offer our apology to our Creator, He forgives us. When we believe that we are forgiven, we are free. If we mistakingly believe the Enemy of our souls instead of the Truth that sets us free, then although we are forgiven we remain enslaved. It is a work to believe on Jesus. It is the work. Especially when someone you love doesn't forgive you. What a dangerous fire unforgiveness is to relationships! But thankfully, God is love and the author and supplier of love. Love can cover even the sin of unforgiveness with forgiveness of it's own. You don't forgive me? It's OK.