Picture yourself as a sculpture, Greek and carefully carved. Someone approaches the sculpture wielding a great hammer. They smash into your hand, and it breaks off. They swing at your leg - it shatters violently. Then they hammer into your nose, and your face becomes rubble.
I find this imagery sad.
When we are hurt or harmed by someone, I think it’s a bit similar. As someone in an old weekly group once put it, we are “less whole” after being hurt. There is simply less of US as who we are. Maybe that’s why we sometimes refer to vengeance as defending, or reclaiming, our honor. We want to make ourselves complete again, and right now we are incomplete. Vengeance, then, is the culmination of ourselves, giving us back our dignity and satisfaction.
This makes forgiveness difficult - forgiveness means seeing that we are less than we once were - we are less respected, less proud, less secure - and accepting it. Giving in to what that person made of us. Forgiveness is about accepting ourselves as being minor and inconsequential in comparison to the person with the hammer. Small.
But dead to ourselves, and therefore free.