The first 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 forgive!

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 your anger."

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. Forgiveness liberates.

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 visit.)

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.


ó Jamie Lash                     






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