Have you ever found it difficult to forgive someone because they hurt you too bad? Sometimes, once the pain subsides, forgiveness becomes possible. Unfortunately, there are cases where the wounds never heal; often causing us to refuse to forgive the offending party. Jesus knew about this kind of emotional anguish when He instructed us in Mt 18:22 to forgive our brother seventy-seven times (i.e. an infinite number). Note that He didn’t add, “…once you’re no longer angry”. While The Lord’s command is clear, how can we forgive someone if we’re still angry or hurt?
The late Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom was quoted as saying, “Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” That profound statement gives us the answer to the dilemma. Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a conscious choice that we make. Being angry or hurt doesn’t stop us from choosing to forgive someone.
If there’s someone who you haven’t been able to forgive, why not say the three simple words “I forgive you” tonight? If you’re not ready to say the words to the person directly, start by saying them in your mind. Even though you may still feel the hurt for awhile, you will be doing what The Lord commands. Eventually, you may see that the pain may diminish or disappear completely.
If you still find this phrase difficult to say, remember the words of Our Lord as He was suffering on the cross for our sins:
“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do. “(Lk 23:34)