Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Forgiveness Is Not a Feeling

Many people have a wrong definition of forgiveness. One wrong idea is that you cannot forgive someone until you "feel" like forgiving him or her. Forgiveness is not a feeling.

Certainly Jesus did not "feel" like forgiving when He was on the cross. Nevertheless He said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34).

Doug Easterday says, "If you are waiting for a feeling in order to forgive, you'll have a long wait—forever. You will not feel like forgiving. Your feelings can be your enemy."

Forgiveness is a choice you make. It needs to be separated from your feelings. To truly choose to forgive someone, you will need God's help.

Laura Petherbridge says, "Pray these words: 'Lord, make me willing to move toward forgiveness. I'm not willing yet. But if You'll teach me how, I'm going to trust You and believe You can.' If you reach out to God with sincerity and seek Scriptures that teach about forgiveness, it moves you closer toward a willing heart. Review Christ's sacrificial cost to obtain forgiveness for you, and within a short time you will see forgiveness through His eyes."

Only God can change your heart and enable you to come to the point of forgiveness. You do not need to try and change the feelings you have toward the other person when you forgive, but be willing to let God transform your heart as time goes by.

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3:12-13).

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