In Saturday's Times there was such an interesting article written by Matthew Parriss about foregiveness. It was in the light of the recent trial of one of the last remaining Nazi guards from Auswitchz (sorry about the spelling) and his subsequent imprisonment.
Some of his victims said they would never forgive him and others said they had already done so -this raises such an important issue and one which I feel is such a very personal one that it is hard to come to a decision which side to come down on.
One lady who had lost thirty of her close relatives there spoke so movingly about forgiveness and the necessity to forget the past - others said they never could forgive or forget.
My previous husband had been on the so-called 'Death Railway' across Thailand as a prisoner-of-war of the Japanese. He had been taken prisoner as a boy soldier shortly after his seventeenth birthday. He rarely spoke of his ordeal and managed to live a happy, relatively healthy life until the age of sixty six. But he never found the will to forgive. He could not forgive his captors for their cruelty and their lack of humanity.
Yet his friend,an ordained minister, who later on became Chaplain to the Queen, who was a prisoner with him and I have to say a very great support to him - I would almost go so far as to say that without his support and friendship my husband would probably not have survived the many attacks of malaria (both kinds), pellagra, dysentry, beri-beri and many more - forgave to the extent of having a Japanese curate in his parish after the war ended.
So I think we can conclude from that that any kind of forgiveness is a very personal thing - some people find it much easier than others.
And I don't think this just applies to major issues like the ones above; I think it probably applies all down the line.