“Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a commitment.” - Gary Chapman
Choosing to forgive someone who has deeply hurt you is one of the hardest tasks to do in life. Giving mercy in exchange for a painful wrongdoing never comes easy. Harboring animosity toward the offender seems to make more sense, but the results are dreadful.
Years ago, after an extremely troubling time, I angrily complained to God how I didn’t want to forgive my offender and I didn’t appreciate the Bible saying I needed to. Surprisingly, I wasn’t struck by lightning that day. Instead, God just listened to me as I poured out my raw emotions. A scripture echoed in my mind during my murmuring: “If you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Conviction settled in. I knew I had crossed the line numerous times with God, disappointing Him and causing Him grief, yet He always forgave me. Every time I wronged Him, grace was at my door. I too was to forgive the person who offended me. So, that day I made the hard choice to forgive. Was it easy? No. The process was slow and hard, but in time my feelings matched my decision.
Forgiveness is not a walk in the park; it’s not meant to be. It’s Christ-like. Like love, forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. Hurt feelings harbor bitter poison, but forgiveness leads to grace and mercy; something we all need. As Jesus hung on the cross many years ago, He humbly asked His Father to forgive all those causing Him so much pain.
Vindication seemed more relevant at that moment, but Jesus made the hard choice to forgive.
Animosity or forgiveness? The choice is ours. Let’s choose well.
Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Matthew 6:15, “But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”