Forgiveness is a choice

“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’” (Luke 23:34 NIV).

Despite the overwhelming rejection and physical pain, Jesus made the decision to forgive.

Now, that same Jesus lives in us?

Sometimes we might hesitate to forgive someone because we don’t feel very forgiving toward them. We might still feel a great deal of anger toward them. So we examine our emotional state and decide we are not in any condition to forgive. We buy into the error that forgiveness is a feeling.

Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. It is about choosing to cancel a debt owed to us. Yes, we might feel that someone owes us an apology, or that they should make up for what they have done to us. They owe us big time. But forgiveness is releasing them from that debt and giving up the right to be treated fairly by them. Making this choice to forgive may fly in the face of everything we are currently feeling. Our feelings may cry out against the whole idea of forgiveness. Still, we can choose. This mirrors what God did when he chose to forgive us.

We don’t have to wait for our feelings to come on board. Instead, we can follow the divine sequence that God has given us: think, then choose, then feel. We can set our minds on the truth of what needs to be done. We can choose to forgive and release someone from the debt owed to us. Then, from that day forward, we can remember the choice we made. We can continue to live in agreement with the choice we made. Our emotions may or may not line up with our choice. Still, we know what we chose to do—forgive and release—and that is what matters most.

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