Author Corrie ten Boom tells of a time when after forgiving someone she found herself mentally rehearsing the incident only to experience the all-to-familiar emotions of anger. She finally experienced comfort in the example of an old fashioned church bell tower.
The bell in a church tower is rung by pulling a rope. After the person lets go of the rope the sounds of the bell continue to ring. As time passes the bell rings slower and slower until the sound finally stops.
When we choose to forgive we are taking our hands off the rope. In the same way the sounds of the bell continue to ring, the memories of the offense continue to repeat.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean we forget.
If we can leave our hands off the rope and resist the urge to once again pull on the offense of the past, just like the sounds of the bell, the feelings will slowly fade until sound of anger is silenced.
[Ephesians 4:32] Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.