In Hebrews 12:15 of the New Testament, the Lord through Paul tells me to be careful, and watch myself.
"Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;"
God knew that if I refused to forgive others when they hurt me or those I loved, that unforgiveness would harden within me, and wind up hurting me and others around me.
As I studied the teaching of forgiveness, I ran across some sermon notes that I had taken years ago. This preacher had used the story of King David and Ahithophel (A hith' a fel) to show the effect bitterness can have on me and those around me. It seems that Ahithophel was a court advisor and friend of King David. The King turned to him for advice when he had to make difficult decisions concerning the kingdom and its people. And David was wise to do so. Read what 2 Samuel 16:23 says about the man:
"And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counseled in those days, was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God."
He was able to study a situation and decide the best course of action to be taken. But something happened between King David and Ahithophel that caused the man to despise the King> He used to work alongside David for the good of the kingdom. Why had he turned traitor and begun advising Absalom. David's son, who was trying to take over as King? If you chase down the references to whom Ahithophel was, and who his son was, you'll find the answer. Ahithophwel was Bathsheba's grandfather!
When King David fell into adultery and then ordered Uriah killed to try to cover his sin, he hurt more than just the man whose wife he took. The ripple effect of sin did it's work throughout the palace. David throughout his life had a heart that was tender to the leading of the Holy Spirit. That's why God loved him so much. When God sent Nathan the prophet to confront the King with his sin, David immediately went to God and confessed, then pleaded for forgiveness. Scripture shows that though there would be consequences he would have to face for that sin, God forgave him--but Ahithophel on the other hand did not.
The story of Ahithophel was not a pretty one. This man fell from having the position of honor in the King's palace, having God-given wisdom in performing his job, to betraying this country and plotting murder. The spirial down was a steep and fast one for him.
How does this apply to me? What do I do when someone hurts me? What if the hurt seems to be on purpose? How do I handle it? I made me stop and think.