Father Lawrence Jenco was kidnapped and held hostage by Shiite Muslims for 564 days. Afterward, he wrote a book, Bound to Forgive, about the ordeal. When asked how long it took him to start forgiving his captors Jenco said, "from day one."
He explained that the words of forgiveness appear throughout the Scriptures repeatedly and if we don't forgive we end up with a tremendous amount of hate and resentment. He repeated the words of Jesus, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."
Jenco says he hasn't forgotten what was done to him, but when he recalls the memories, he heals.
Obviously this is an extreme situation and most of us are not going to be held as hostages, but like Jenco we are called to forgive those who do us wrong. We forgive the person who cuts in front of us in traffic, we forgive our spouse for coming home from work late and not calling, we forgive our kids for losing their tempers, we forgive family members who may have hurt us.
We forgive because we must. We forgive because it brings us peace. We forgive because we are called to love. If you're having trouble forgiving, Jenco suggests asking God to help you forgive. What a brilliant idea!