summer Marcy and I were engaged, she was in Texas, I was in
Maryland, and I didn't call her for the whole summer. I had been
hurt by some things she had said at the end of the spring
semester. Looking back, what she said was really not that big a
deal, but I was able to make it a big deal at the time.
I knew I should forgive her, but I didn't think that my
forgiveness would be genuine until I felt like forgiving
her. Since then Iíve observed that I rarely feel like forgiving
anybody. When someone hurts me badly, I feel more like torturing
them--in love of course. To teach them a lesson.
Fortunately, before I destroyed my relationship with Marcy, God
began to teach me that forgiveness doesn't depend on feelings.
Forgiveness is a decision of the will. How liberating it was to
realize that I don't have to feel like forgiving in order to
God appeals to my will (not to my feelings). He doesnít ask me
to forgive; He commands me to forgive. In fact He provides
a deadline. Ephesians 4:26 says, "Do not let the sun go down on
Moreover, God wants me to understand that His way is best. When
I resist Godís command to forgive, I am forgetting that God is
good and all His ways are good. I think I have a better plan.
My better plan involves replaying the offense over and over
again in my mind. I make it into a little movie so that I can be
hurt repeatedly by a single offense. I lock myself in a prison of
my own making. Thereís only one way to get out. I have to forgive.
If I refuse to forgive, Jesus says, "Neither will your Father
in heaven forgive you" (Matthew 6:15). That gets my attention. To
make matters even worse, unforgiveness gives Satan a foothold in
my life (Eph. 4:26-27; 2 Cor. 2:11). (I have enough problems as it
is; I certainly donít need to be inviting my enemy to come for a
Few sins are as common or as damaging as unforgiveness. It
destroys homes, it destroys churches, it destroys lives.
Letís trust that Godís way is best, and letís obey Him.