While worshiping in church this morning I was contemplating how I want to continuously grow. I want to always be maturing in my faith and developing into a stronger woman. I asked God what was standing in the way of that today. Now, while there are many many things I could work on, the one thing that came to my mind very clearly was forgiveness. (aren't we glad God picks one at a time!)
I was listening to Charles Stanley the other day on the radio and he was speaking on forgiveness. He was explaining that the first step is to confess the unforgiveness you have to God and to repent. But what caught me was when he mentioned that when we are reminded of the hurt we felt, the wrong done to us, we must EACH time make the decision to forgive again, and again and yet again. He also mentioned that eventually our feelings will follow. One day we will think of that person or situation and we will not feel the same. Only a God who heals can do such things.
In the movie Dan in Real Life it says, "love is an ability." I also believe that beyond a feeling, love is a choice. I believe this to be true for forgiveness as well. When I was younger I thought that if I truly forgave someone I would instantly "feel" like I forgave them. If I thought of that person or situation again and still felt a little pang of hurt or maybe even anger, I thought I must not have truly forgiven. I don't believe this anymore.
So this morning, during prayer, I quietly told God that I forgave this person and I also asked for forgiveness for myself for the feelings I harbored. Now I am sure I will think of this again, and I probably won't feel all warm and fuzzy at first, but that doesn't mean I didn't forgive. The Lord cleansed me of this I am sure. But I am human and a very sensitive human at that, so I know feelings don't just disappear. But I will consciously make a decision every time I feel this way to understand that one day my feelings will match my heart.
When I quietly prayed this prayer something strange happened. A women sitting very close to me began to cry loudly. In fact, it quickly evolved into a wail. I could identify with her because this is how I felt inside when I forgave. It was a tremendous release in my soul. Her loud cries echoed in my heart and I was so thankful for a God who draws us near, purifies us bit by bit, all the while holding us closely to his heart.
Part 10: Wake Up!
1 year ago