Forgiving When It's Not Easy

Will yourself to do the right thing and eventually your feelings will follow.

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Forgiving When It's Not Easy

If you have anything against anyone, forgive him [drop the issue, let it go], so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you. Mark 11:25 (AMP)

One of the hardest commandments of Jesus, for me, is the order to forgive. Anything. Anyone. Seventy times seven. But how do we do this when whatever wrong we’ve suffered is raw—and our feelings still fresh? Worse yet, probably, when the other person isn’t sorry?

Corrie ten Boom helped me with this when she wrote, “Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” I think the idea here is that we can separate our feelings from our wills—and sometimes we must. I tend to want to feel whatever I’m doing. To feel love when I’m supposed to be loving. To feel compassion when I’m supposed to be kind. To feel bold when I need to be brave. And it’s nice when our feelings match up with our will. But it’s not always going to be that way. One time, in the midst of postpartum, I didn’t feel loving when my baby wanted to eat. I felt like staying in bed and sleeping. Another time, I almost threw up when I cleaned a cancer wound on my aunt’s leg. I almost never feel bold when it’s time to be brave. I just make myself do it anyway. Forgiveness can be like this—only harder. We feel like we cannot forgive someone who has broken our hearts. Even if they are sorry, but especially when they’re not. But Jesus is greater than our feelings. He provides us the power for any commandment He gives. And often, it’s the power of the will. Do what’s right in your will, and eventually your feelings will follow.

Faith Step: What name comes immediately to mind when you think of forgiving? Will yourself to drop the issue you have with that person, even if the person is you. Don’t worry about how you feel. For today, just forgive.

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