“Then said Jesus, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’” – Luke 23:34 (KJV)
You may think that only Jesus can forgive like that.
Imagine forgiving the person who shot up a school that killed your son.
Imagine forgiving the man who attacked and raped your daughter.
Imagine forgiving the people who hung you on a pole to die.
This seems unthinkable.
It seems unfathomable that Jesus could say that while being crucified.
We are to do the same. We are to forgive our enemies, forgive those who persecute us (Matthew 5:43-48).
It seems odd to ask a person who survived a concentration camp to forgive those who held her captive.
It seems odd to ask a person held in slavery to forgive his slave master or a mother to forgive the person who murdered her daughter.
God doesn’t ask us to do this on our own. He doesn’t ask us to do anything on our own. He is expecting us to lean on Him, to use His forgiveness instead of ours.
However the mistake people make is thinking that forgiveness is a feeling.
God doesn’t deal in our feelings. He deals in our choices.
Forgiveness, love, obedience, happiness—these are all choices.
Once we make a decision to forgive and pray something like, “Lord, I choose to forgive _______ by faith in the Name of Jesus,” our feelings won’t automatically line up with that decision.
They will eventually, though.
The best thing to do in the meantime is to keep praying for that person. The more you do that, the more you will feel compassion for the person.
Then that compassion will give way to the feeling of forgiveness.
The decision comes first, though.
Remember where the mind goes, the rest of the body, including the heart, will follow.