"Bless those that curse you, who are cruel in their attitude toward you; bless and do not curse them." - Romans 12:14 (AMP)
I must confess that letting go of baggage is a difficult task. I have had baggage travel with me through several "new years". I have carried being mistreated by a boss, threats from a brother-in-law, slights of a former pastor, and the list could go on. What was gained by carrying this baggage? Quite simply: NOTHING! Yet, I could not put it away. Just when I thought I'd moved on, something would trigger an avalanche of memories, feelings, and resentment. I would pray and ask for help, but there was a deep-rooted, prideful grip on the past that would not let go.
So, what to do? How can you put the baggage on a plane with a one-way ticket far away from you? The short answer is to forgive, forget, move on, and let God deal with the details. Jesus tells us to continue to forgive...not just once...not even stopping at seven times...but seventy-seven times (or seventy times seven, depending on the translation you are reading). All in all, Jesus wants us to forgive an infinite number of times, just as God continues to forgive us. Sounds good...but may be easier said than done!
Here's an approach to forgiveness that might help: Remember Romans 12:14! Bless those that are cruel to you! Approach forgiving others by praying for blessings for those that have "sinned against you." Don't pray for the truth to come out or vindication from wrongs you have suffered, but instead sincerely pray for blessings from God on those you are struggling to forgive. It may not be easy at first. Sometimes forgiving that first time can be the most difficult, but continue to pray for God's blessings and your heart will begin to send the baggage away, allowing for a truly fresh start and greater blessings from God!
Thank you for forgiving me and not giving up on me, even when I struggle to forgive. I ask that you truly bless those that I am having trouble forgiving. Please allow my heart to forgive and to be right in your sight. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.