Is forgiveness a conscious choice ?
I believe forgiveness is a choice we make through a decision of our will to begin a healing process. That allow’s Love and light into our heart’s.
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (NIV)
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How do we forgive when we don’t feel like it? How do we translate the decision to forgive into a change of heart?
We forgive by faith, out of obedience. We must trust God to do the work in us that needs to be done so that the forgiveness will be complete.
I believe God honors our commitment to obey Him and our desire to please him when we choose to forgive. He completes the work in his time. We must continue to forgive (our job), by faith, until the work of forgiveness (the Lord’s job), is done in our hearts.
How will we know if we have truly forgiven?
Corrie Ten Boom, a Christian woman who survived a Nazi concentration camp during the Holocaust, said, “Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free, and to realize the prisoner was you.”
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We will know the work of forgiveness is complete when we experience the freedom that comes as a result. We are the ones who suffer most when we choose not to forgive. When we do forgive, the Lord sets our hearts free from the anger, bitterness, resentment and hurt that previously imprisoned us.
Most times, however, forgiveness is a slow process.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (NIV)
We must continue forgiving until the matter is settled in our heart.
What if the person we need to forgive is not a believer?
I have found that prayer is one of the best ways to break down the wall of unforgiveness in my heart. When I begin to pray for the person who has wronged me, God gives me new eyes to see and a new heart to care for that person. As I pray, I start to see that person as God sees them, and I realize that he or she is precious to the Lord. I also see myself in a new light, just as guilty of sin and failure as the other person. I too am in need of forgiveness. If God did not withhold his forgiveness from me, why should I withhold my forgiveness from another?
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (NIV)
Why must we forgive?
We learn from Scripture, if we don’t forgive, neither will we be forgiven:
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (NIV)
We also forgive so that our prayers will not be hindered:
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (NIV)
In summary and in closing, we forgive out of obedience to the Lord. It is a choice, a decision we make. However, as we do this “forgiving,” we discover the command is in place for our own good, and we receive the reward of our forgiveness—freedom.