I'll try to keep this brief and to the point.
My friend asked me about forgiveness the other day and this is what I feel God wanted me to share. I'm posting it here so that others can read it.
There are a lot of misconceptions out there about forgiveness. Many people have a hard time with it because they think that forgiveness means you have to be ok with what a person has done. This is not the case at all.
To forgive means that you release all the negative feelings that go along with your memory of what the person has done to you. This doesn't mean that the person wasn't acting like a jerk, or that you approve of what they did. It just means that you're not going to allow the enemy to use this "thing", whatever it was, to continue to affect your future.
For instance, lets say that someone has a father who has sexually abused her. She goes through her life dealing with all the pain and shame of his decisions. Eventually she has to get to a point where she can forgive him. Did he do the wrong thing? Absolutely!! Does she still have to work through the process of healing? Definitely. All she has done is decide that she's not going to let his actions continue to steal her peace.
Another example: perhaps a someone has a friend who suddenly betrayed their trust. To forgive does not mean that you blindly trust them again. It just means that you aren't going to continue to be angry with them over the situation. The relationship will most likely never be at the same level of trust. But at some point the person betrayed should be able to focus on the fun they had together and no longer allow the betrayal to cause a rift.
As far as scripture goes, although there are plenty of verses about forgiveness, sometimes it's hard to figure out how to apply them. He tells us to forgive as we have been forgiven, to not hold grudges, etc. But how do we put it into action?
For this, I would recommend trying to view it from God's angle. God says he has removed our sin from us as far as the east is from the west. He remembers it no more. Yet, later in Revelation it talks about the judgement seat and says that all our acts will be accounted for.
In essence, God is saying that He is not focused on all the times we've betrayed Him. Rather, he knows that Jesus has paid the price of our sins. He wipes the slate clean and we start fresh, having learned from our mistakes.
Finally, we have to remember that people will always fail us. People are not perfect, and we cannot expect them to be. At some point, every human relationship we have will let us down. Some people will decide that it's just to risky, and shut down. They won't allow anyone to get close to them again because they have learned that they can't trust anyone. This not only turns off pain, but also turns off pleasure. We cannot enjoy the beauty of friendships if we refuse to allow them.
Rather than continue to be disappointed by others shortcomings, we should expect them. We should rely on God to fulfill us, and view our relationships with other humans as more for their benefit than our own. As soon as we stop focusing on what we can get and start focusing on what we can bring others, we will be a lot less likely to be hurt. Allow God to fill your love tank, and then it can overflow to others. If you're expecting others to fill up your tank, however, you'll never be satisfied.
I hope that made sense, and I welcome any feedback or input.