EVERY WOMEN SHOULD KNOW... how to forgive when you don't feel like it

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted,

forgiving each other,

just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

Ephesians 4:32

This whole forgiving thing is really hard. Impossible even. Sometimes I don’t feel like forgiving. I can think of a million reasons not to forgive- I mean, after all, won’t that person just get away with it if I let him off the hook? And won’t he do it again if I don’t get in his face and wag my pointy finger?

Yes, yes, and yes!

That’s why forgiving is a heroic act of faith. Ultimately I forgive simply because I have been forgiven so much.

It doesn’t honestly make a lot of sense. But then, neither do a lot of things in the Kingdom.

We could wax long on all the why’s and wherefore’s but you and I know that at some point we have to reach into that half-tamed will of ours and just do it.

Here’s how:

#1 Name the sin.

That’s right, no covering it up or excusing it or stuffing it deep down. Someone genuinely wronged you and its time to figure out exactly what all those roiling emotions are pointing at. Name it.

He stole from you, she lied, he committed adultery, she gossiped.

Find the real, biblical name and use it. Forget all the psychobabble at this point and utilize the raw language of Scripture to recognize the wrong.

Remember that Jesus knew exactly what sins He was dying for as He hung on that Cross.

(2 Corinthians 5:21)

#2 Count the cost.

Authentic, bone deep forgiveness is costly. That free gift offered each one of us by God’s son cost Him his life. Every single drop of blood, every breath, every bit of Him.

Forgiveness hurts deep. It can be agonizing. The cost is incredibly high. And that’s why so many of us harbor stinking, festering garbage cans full of unforgiveness.

We hurt already by the wrong done against us and now we’ve got to forgive?

Yet it’s not impossible. We’ve already been given everything pertaining to life and godliness- even the strength to forgive. (2 Peter 1:2-8)

#3 Pour it on.

There is no such thing as stingy forgiveness. That’s fakery at its most self-righteous.  To forgive someone while withholding love from him or her is not forgiveness at all. Jesus paid the price for one reason only: to bring us close to God. (I Peter 3:18)

If we are to be His imitators, we’re going to have to move beyond how we feel and reach out to love that person who wronged us, and hurt us, and sinned against us.

#4 Entrust yourself to God.

No one really ever gets away with anything. Remember that when any of us sin, we first and foremost sin against God.

He’s waiting and He’s working and He’s wooing people to Himself.

We serve a God who watches over us jealously even while He’s actively involved in utilizing man’s evil to create something good and perfect and beautiful in each of us.  When we forgive out of sheer obedience, He is able to step in and do what He wishes in our hearts.

#5 Listen to wisdom.

Sin always has consequences, (Galatians 6:6,7) and in some cases, that means a loss of intimate relationship. While many, even most, sins can be forgiven in such a way as to restore closeness, sometimes wisdom dictates otherwise. If a person is perpetually unrepentant and refuses to cease the cycle of sin and abuse, then some sort of carefully scripted protection must take place.

Put yourself under the accountability of someone wiser than yourself (like a pastor or a godly husband or someone who offers biblical counsel) in order to love from a distance while God does His work in that person’s life.

#5 Choose.

Remember that forgiveness is a choice of the will, not, as some people espouse, a process. According to everything Jesus taught on forgiveness, we must forgive.

Now, you might not feel all warm and fuzzy all of a sudden. In fact, you may not feel any different at all. How you feel is beside the point because how we feel always follows how we think, not the other way around. Choose with your will to forgive, and eventually, over time, the feelings will follow.

It might take a while- that’s the process part. When all those awful feelings come back to try to choke the life out of you, you’ll have to remind yourself before God that you’ve forgiven that sin.

It’s a choice you make. (Ephesians 4:32, Matthew 18: 21-35)

As hard as all this is, you are not alone. Jesus knows just how you feel, in fact; He’s suffered every single thing that you have. Everything. And He’s waiting in the wings to help you the moment you step into the ferocious battle to forgive.

From my heart,