We tend to FORGIVE in STAGES. Many of us have had the experience of thinking we have forgiven someone, only to discover, months or years later, that we are still harboring negative feelings towards them. This is because our ability to forgive is dependent upon our level of emotional maturity. For example, you may have been abandoned as a child by your parent. In your twenties, you decided to forgive them, thinking you had put the matter behind you. But 10 years later, you still find yourself lonely and guarded; not wanting to allow anyone to get too close to you for fear they’ll reject you. In your 20s you were only mature enough to process through what your parent did to you physically, but now, as you have grown spiritually and emotionally, God is asking you to work through and forgive the emotional wounds you received. Resentment is like paint on an old house. It has to be removed one layer at a time.
Matthew 18:21-22: Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.