Forgiveness is not a Feeling

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"Total forgiveness is a choice. It is not a feeling-at least at first-but is rather an act of the will." {From Total Forgiveness by R.T. Kendall}

A couple a years ago someone confessed to me a sin that she committed against me.  I had no idea that she had sinned against me.  I was totally blown away. For what it is worth, I have to say that if you have done something against someone and they don't know about it, it is probably best not to confess it!  I know that sounds wrong.  But my experience showed me, that by her confessing she relieved her own guilt and gifted me with a boatload of pain.  It made things worse, not better.  It was like I had been trespassed against twice over.

By the grace of God, my response to her was, "I forgive you."  I don't even know how it came out of my mouth!  I had no prewarning that I was going to be confessed to.  I had no idea that she had done what she had done.  Yet, in that moment I decided that I would forgive even if I didn't feel like it. At first, forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a sheer act of the will!  It is a choice we make to let go of the pain. Eventually though, the choice becomes a feeling.

Recently our pastor made a profound statement.  It wasn't about forgiveness, but about singing and praising God. However, if you switch the word "singing" for "forgiveness" into this statement it fits.

Forgive when you feel like it.
Forgive when you don't feel like it.
Forgive until you do feel like it.

We have a choice to make...the feelings will come later.

{Total Forgiveness is a great book! Check it out.}

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