A few friends were coming for my 8:00 a.m, workshop. The room glowed softly as candles flickered around the semi-circle of chairs. Rebecca had promised to guide us through yoga movements at the conclusion of the workshop. We had practiced them during our 6am yoga, while my children still slept and the sun hid behind the black sky. "We hold resentment right here," she said, pointing to her upper torso and shoulders. She gracefully lifted her hands upward and extended them behind her head. "This movement helps us release that resentment. It helps us forgive."

My workshop would explore the question: "Can we forgive the people we hate?" With much difficulty, I had taken myself through the steps of the workshop earlier that day. I had to ask myself some hard questions. What does it cost to forgive? What does it cost to not forgive? I stumbled upon intense resistance. I need to give this workshop, I thought. I have real grudges that need to be untangled. The gift of teaching, I realized, is that you've got a shot at teaching something to yourself.

Living with resentment is like letting your enemy camp out in your headspaceAt 8:15, I presented the questions to my friends. The first: what would it cost you to forgive? Pens quietly scratched paper and reason silently scratched the surface of emotion. "It would cost me my pride"… "It would cost me my sense of justice"… "I can't verbalize the cost but it's definitely too costly!"

The next question: "And not to forgive – at what expense?" Again, a swift flow of responses. "It would cost me my serenity"… "my joy"… "my creative edge." Living with resentment is like letting your enemy camp out in your headspace free of charge.

Our point of departure is a verse from Psalms where King David says to G‑d, "For with You is forgiveness so that you will be feared" (130:4).

We praise G‑d for being forgiving, but why the fear? Isn't love the natural reaction to forgiveness? Where does King David see a connection between forgiveness and fear?

As in any good riddle, the clues hide in the words and wait to be uncovered.

"For with You is forgiveness," King David proclaims. These unusual words must contain a clue. Is G‑d being praised for being forgiving or for holding back forgiveness? Is forgiveness exclusively His?

One explanation of the passage "with You is forgiveness" is that only G‑d can truly forgive. It is not within human nature to forgive. If we've been wounded, we seek revenge. If revenge is not an option, we fantasize about revenge. And dissolving resentment feels wrong since we can't dissolve the impact nor soften the pain we've suffered.

It is not within human nature to forgiveBy contrast, G‑d is not affected by us. Even when we do things that fly in the face of G‑d's deepest desires, He is not aversely affected by it. In fact, He knew all along that it was coming, and the sin did not throw Him off. Therefore, G‑d can forgive entirely. He can retroactively wash away a sin so that it never even existed in the first place, eradicating any memory of its harm. G‑d has exclusive rights to forgiveness – "with You is forgiveness."

Now that's intimidating! Meditating on the thought that we don't affect G‑d at all, that everything is predestined as part of His master plan, is overwhelmingly awe-inspiring. G‑d is beyond the vicissitudes of mankind and although He loves man and deeply desires our success, He is not changed by man in any which way.

By addressing the source of G‑d's forgiveness, we understand why it elicits fear and intimidation.

Analyzing and decoding verses from the Bible is stimulating, but always more meaningful when connected to self-analysis. If our souls are an actual piece of G‑d, then we must have G‑dly qualities. The Torah, in fact, asks us to cleave to G‑d by mimicking His attributes. "Just as He is merciful, so should you be; just has He is compassionate, so should you be." And just as G‑d pardons, so should we. Forgiving is not one of our human traits, but one of our divine traits.

Authentic forgiveness is predicated upon the belief that nothing is a mistake; both the good and seemingly bad come directly from G‑d, and is purposeful. Yes, someone chose to bruise my ego or perpetrate abuse against me, but that suffering was meant for me, sent by G‑d. In other words, no person can affect me without G‑d's consent. Only He writes my life script.

No person can affect me without G‑d's consentThere is a place inside us that is entirely committed to our relationship with G‑d. In that place, resentment is a distraction, and festering resentment clouds our view. From there, the goal – to utilize challenge as a G‑d-given learning experience – is crystal clear. And I know that I'm completely safe since no one can touch me aside from Him. Forgiveness is only realistic when we access our soul.

And the final workshop question: Do you think that we, too, become more intimidating when we forgive from a place of "untouchability" and soul-power?1