And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved,
put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;
bearing with one another and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone;
just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
Forgiveness is a choice. Not a feeling.
Forgiveness is an act of the will.
Forgiveness is not saying that ______ didn't matter, or that I probably deserved _______.
Forgiveness is saying that _______ was wrong. Very wrong. It did matter, and it hurt me deeply. And now, I choose to release you and give you to God.
The feeling to forgive someone may not come for a very long time, because our hearts are fragile and vulnerable. We don't easily forget when someone wounds our hearts. Thankfully, forgiveness does not ask us to forget, but to choose to take the offender and place them and all the pain they have caused, at the feet of Jesus. To let Him work in their lives, and have the freedom to work in my life, as well.
When we hold on to the wrongdoings, we become so entangled in them that God has no ability to work in our hearts. We are so distressed, so frustrated, so wanting justice, that we miss what He may be trying to teach us.
Forgiveness means choosing God over bitterness.
It means choosing Love over lies.
It means choosing Healing over hurt.
It means choosing Kindness over cruelty.
It means choosing Christ.
It is not impossible, but it calls for a daily surrender to Him. A willingness to let go, and let God. A wanting for God's place in my life to rank higher than the hurt, anger, and fear that may be present.
Even if we never hear someone say "I'm sorry. I was wrong. Will you forgive me?" we still must be willing to forgive, trusting that God will bring them to a place of true repentance.. Because only He can change hearts.