Forgiveness is a choice, a decision that we must make daily. It is not an emotion, even though it does an affect on our emotions.
Today we’re going to look at the fact that forgiveness is a decision that must be made. Nothing happens until you make that decision. In the next post, we’ll be looking at the actual process of forgiveness.
Welcome to Day Twelve of 30 Days to Forgiveness! Click here to read the first post!
Now, we already talked before about what forgiveness is not, but I forgot something. Forgiveness is not an emotion.
Forgiveness is not an emotion.
You are not going to suddenly become overwhelmed by the feeling that you must forgive.
It’s a conscious decision that you need to make with your rational mind.
Now some Christians will point out that a relationship with God will fill you with love towards other people, and it’s true. If you commit yourself to seeing other people as God does, you will come to love and forgive them.
But … and this is a really big but … I’ve known far too many God-loving Christians who show themselves very capable of ignoring that and choosing unforgiveness.
It’s unfortunate, and it harms them in all the ways I’ve discussed before, but it’s still true. No one gets an easy out on this one. Forgiveness requires a choice.
You must decide to overcome your feelings of anger and disappointment.
There’s nothing easy about it.
The decision to forgive is just the first step in a longer process that we’ll talk about in the next post.
And yes, God and prayer and soul-searching are involved. While I believe that I can do all things – including forgiving the “unforgiveable” – through Christ who strengthens me, I’ve noticed that He doesn’t do very much in our lives if we’ve decided to be a lump on the couch stewing in our regrets and anger.
Until you make the decision, nothing is going to change and the process of healing can’t start.
Don’t get all wishy-washy with it, either.
It’s far too easy to say “I forgive you” and not mean it at all. Sometimes we say it because it’s expected, or we think it’s expected. Sometimes we see it as the easy way out of an uncomfortable situation. But don’t expect anything to change just by mouthing insincere words.
There has to be real meaning behind the words, and you must have decided to forgive for the right reason. We have already discussed the problem of false forgiveness. Superficially, that looks like forgiveness, but it feels wrong, and it doesn’t produce the healing that we want.
As I said, forgiveness is not an emotion.
But it does have an effect on our emotions. Once we make the choice to forgive and start down the path, we can start to heal. It starts with forgiving ourselves, and then forgiving the wrongs done to us and the pain that others have caused. As we move along the path, we can feel forgiveness regarding the things and people we’ve lost because of the actions of other people.
For a while, it takes regular, daily reminders. Today, I will practice forgiveness. Today, and just for today, I will make the decision to examine my heart for bitterness and anger and stay with the process of forgiveness.
Are you ready? We’re about to get into some meat and potatoes stuff. We’ll look at exactly how we start the process of forgiveness.0