We’ve all been there. We know God says we should forgive, but we’re just not feeling it! We’re not even sure we want to!
“After all … it’s not the first time!”
“If I forgive he’ll think it’s OK to do it again.”
“What she said really hurt! It’s time someone gave her some of her own medicine!”
“I’ll forgive, but I’m not going to forget!”
“I’m just not ready to forgive.”
“I don’t know how to forgive when I’m not feeling it!”
It would be hypocritical to say I forgive when I don’t mean it!”
What are the 3 promises of forgiveness and how can they help us forgive, even when we’re not feeling it?
Judges 11 & 12
How to Forgive When You Aren’t Feeling It
Increase Our Faith
Even the disciples struggled with this idea. Look at their conversation with Jesus in verses 3-5:
“Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
“Increase our faith.” My paraphrase, “You’ve got to be kidding! Even if someone sins against me over and over in the same day and comes back saying, ‘I repent,’ I must forgive him?”
“Increase our faith.” Basically the disciples were saying, “That’s too hard. You’re going to have to give us some supernatural faith if we’re expected to do that!”
Faith is Not the Problem
6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
Then he went on to tell them a parable about a slave and his master.
7 And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? 8 But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not.
Jesus ended the parable by saying:
10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’”
Jesus had not changed the subject; He was still talking about forgiveness. Faith is not the problem when we refuse to forgive, obedience is! If Jesus is truly our Lord and we His servants, we should willingly obey Him even when it is challenging or seems unfair to us. And when we step out in faith, He provides the strength and ability.
It’s important to remember that biblical forgiveness is not about feelings. Sometimes we won’t feel like forgiving. The servant in the parable probably didn’t feel like serving his master when he was hot and tired and hungry himself, but he did it as an act of obedience. So too, we are to forgive as an act of obedience, as an act of our will.
The Three Promises of Forgiveness
So how, specifically, do we do that? Continue reading