It's for your benefit, not theirs!
This whole forgiveness thing features quite heavily throughout the Bible and for good reason too, it's a visa in our passport to eternity!
I mentioned in The Big Picture that satan coerced Eve and Adam into sin. They did something wrong that separated them from God.
At the time 'Man' couldn't simply say,"Ooops, sorry God, I dropped a clanger there,"
God had to create a way of changing the balance of power seeing that now satan was in control of the earth.
Initially there were sacrifices, including blood sacrifices, that paid for our sins and meant that God had forgiven us. This was called Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement, which still exists today, i.e. the day of forgiving sins once they had been paid for.
However, paying for our sins is one thing but forgiving them is all together different. It says in the Bible, in 1 John 1:9 "but if we confess (tell God) our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness."
Also in Psalms 103:12 in the Bible it is written that "He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west."
So what does this mean for a Christian? Becoming a follower of Jesus means we have been made right with God because we believe! This is what righteous means.
Also, we have been justified. "Just as if I'd never done it." Once we make Jesus Lord of our lives, we become new spirit beings. This means regarding forgiveness, if we say what our sins are and we are genuinely sorry for doing it/them and try not to do it/them again, God will forgive our sins, no more questions, no more sacrifices! Job done!
So that's the first part of forgiveness; God chose to forgive our sins, now, in turn, we have to forgive other people who sin against us.
Not forgiving others, means that we will hold grudges and become embittered. This 'state' allows the enemy, satan, to get a foothold in our lives and can mean other negative factors or issues arise. Its a bit like being told to hold a stone at arms. It get's heavier and heavier, to eventually you can't hold it up any more but you still keep hold of it. Jesus comes along and tells you you can put it down (and then says you didn't need to pick it up in the first place!).
Our objective is to freely forgive! But it doesn't mean that you can or should allow anyone to sin against you again and again.
It is not them, it is what's inside them, making them behave that way. Therefore forgive and move on, use your discretion, but don't simply roll over.
The critical element about forgiveness is that we must forgive others in order that God can forgive us.
Forgiving others releases the burden from us. Forgiving others also means we give permission to forgive ourselves. It may be that you don't even see or speak to the other party, but forgiving them releases you from the pressure of holding a grudge.
Think about it now. Remember that person who really upset you. Think about how you feel right now. Think about how it would feel holding a large brick in your hand, held out in front of you. You can imagine it getting heavier and heavier and heavier. Now put it down! Feels good huh! Well that's what we have to do when it comes to forgiving others. Put it down, yes! just like that...