Forgiveness Is Not Based Upon Feelings or Emotions
Key Verse to Read and Treasure
Forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive—Colossians 3:13 (ESV)
Question asked of woman who needed to forgive her co-worker: “Sue, what are you waiting for? Why haven’t you forgiven Liz?”
Sue’s Response: “I’m waiting until I feel it in my heart. After all I would be a hypocrite if I say I forgive her and don’t really mean it.”
Doesn’t Sue’s response sound and look familiar? In the past haven’t we handled forgiveness this way also? Waiting to extend forgiveness until we feel it in our heart; feel a sense of peace or done some praying beforehand, gotten the opinions of others, then get around to forgiving the one who has hurt or offended us if we can bring ourselves to?
This is the place our enemy wants us to be. Undecided about forgiving; believing we are in command of the timetable. This is the place Satan does his best work as he presents arguments about why it’s unnecessary to forgive, not the time to forgive, that we have time, whispering how God will understand how hurt we are and make us an exception to his command. The place where Satan replays the video or audio tape over and over so we will not forget the hurtful action or words and come away angrier or more hurt each time. The period of time where he hardens our heart so subtly, we hardly recognize it until it is so hard we cannot turn back. Reminding us how our unforgiveness is justified.
But God says forgiveness is not an option. Forgiving others is not about a feeling or if our emotions match our words. Forgiveness is an act of obedience which cannot wait for feelings to match but must be done quickly before the root of bitterness begins the hardening process. Forgiveness must be extended and when we do the work of prayer and returning to God as we struggle with our emotions, feelings and peace will follow.
After forgiving others our heart may soften in time, our mind may be free of negative thoughts, bitterness may evaporate over time and all these things are wonderful, but the greatest blessing comes in knowing we have obeyed God and the enemy has lost that battle.
Lord, you command me to forgive others as you have forgiven me. Let obeying you be the only choice I ever make no matter how badly I’ve been hurt. Amen
Is there anyone you have not been able to forgive? How will you move forward?
visit http://www.devotionallyyours.com for devotions for seniors, youth, healing, marriage