When someone has hurt us, we don’t “feel” like forgiving them. It feels better to feel bad toward the one who’s made us suffer wrong. Forgiving them lets them out of the personal anger we feel they deserve.
In the book of Genesis, we read about Jacob deceiving his father and stealing his brother Esau’s birthright. Years later when Esau could’ve taken advantage of his superior strength, he reached out to Jacob from a heart of forgiveness: “But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept” (Gen 33:4).
In Bible college I worked in the department that oversaw all the student outreach ministries. I oversaw hundreds of students serving in local churches every week, and it sort of went to my head. One day I was caught goofing off after I’d told the office secretary I was too busy to help her with a needed project. My boss was outraged and spoke harshly to me, putting me in my place.
I went back to my dorm room very hurt and wanted to quit. But there on my bunk, God worked in my heart. I confessed my own wrong for being lazy and prideful. Then I had to forgive my boss. He was right in what he said, but it felt wrong how he had said it. It wasn’t easy to forgive him. But God strengthened me to forgive this man in my heart.
What about you? Do you find it hard to forgive? Are you waiting until you “feel like it” to grant forgiveness to another? Friend, there will never be a good time or a convenient time to forgive. And God offers us no such allowances. He simply says, “forgive, if you have anything against anyone” (Mark 11:25).