Forgiveness is not a feeling

By Dave Henning / March 9, 2016

Forgiveness is not a feeling.  Indeed, forgiveness is a purposeful decision- an act of the will not dependent on our emotions.”- June Hunt

In Chapter 6 (“Removing Hard Rocks of Resentment- Choosing Forgiveness Over Feelings”) of How to Forgive, June Hunt reminds us that we must forgive because God has forgiven us all the more (emphasis author’s).  This truth is profound and inescapable.

Ms. Hunt emphasizes that forgiveness is a purposeful decision because our emotions- powerful and persistent as they may be- are the least reliable measures of truth.  Feelings are influenced by numerous past and present conditions.  These conditions may have nothing to do with reality.

Forgiving another person doesn’t mean we have to ignore, hide, or bury our pain.  The painful emotions we experience are natural.  June states that, without injury by another person, Christlike forgiveness wouldn’t be necessary.  Ms. Hunt describes Christlike forgiveness:

“By sacrificing His life, Jesus displayed the truth that forgiveness is far more powerful than the most overwhelming pain. . . . By following Jesus’ example, we chose healing instead of hatred, and we refuse to drag around our bulging bag of bitterness.  And to possess this healing, we must face the pain, not deny or suppress it.”

June notes there is a distinct difference between being aware of our emotions and giving them control.  Feelings often fluctuate from one minute to the next.  Feelings are way too subjective for us to put our faith in them.  Forgiveness is too critical and central to a victorious Christian life to depend on emotions.  June reiterates that forgiveness is not a feeling:

“Forgiveness is a decisive act of the will- a fight for control of how we think.”

Today’s question: What Scriptures have helped you understand that forgiveness is not a feeling?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Think like God thinks”

About the author

Dave Henning

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