Question: I am a 15 year old boy learning in a Yeshiva. I have learned that these days leading up to Rosh Hashana are days of special closeness to G-d and that working to refine our behavior at this time is most appropriate. I would like to work on my negative tendency to resent others and to be unforgiving. I have tried different methods, such as reminding myself how important it is to forgive others and that G-d will judge me the way I judge others, looking for the positive in others. Yet, no matter how hard I’ve tried, I’ve been unsuccessful. Specifically, I find myself unable to forgive others when I see them repeating their offenses to me such as bullies hurting me physically or damaging my property. Honesty is important to me and I can’t forgive unless I know they sincerely regret their actions and I sincerely forgive them.
Answer: Your question and desire sound very sincere and I am certain that you will have Heavenly help in your character refinement as you keep working to improve and asking the Master of the World for help.
With that said, sometimes a person has to work on developing his ability to love (both himself and others). Try to develop your ability to make room in your heart for others. Sometimes a person is carrying some pain in his heart that makes him feel unlovable or some hurt that makes it hard for him to love others without anger. Sometimes these matters are best spoken out with someone who listens well and who can help you let go of the hurt and move back to being the loving person you truly are.
Wishing you much success,
Rabbi Ephraim Becker