From The Quiet Place: Daily Devotional Readings by Nancy Leigh DeMoss:
Whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. ~ 1 John 3:20
Many people who sincerely want to find themselves on the other side of forgiveness have bought into myths and misconceptions that have defeated their best attempts at following through. For the next few days, I’d like to help dismantle four common barriers that can easily keep us frustrated on our journey to relational freedom.
First is the assumption that forgiveness and good feelings should always go hand in hand. You may have genuinely trusted God to help you forgive your offender. But then the phone rings. Their birthday rolls around. A situation flares up where they handle a similar circumstance in the same insensitive way, and you feel your emotions start to heat up again.
That’s when you might conclude, “I guess I haven’t really forgiven because if I had, I wouldn’t still feel this way.” But forgiveness cannot be proven by our feelings, any more than it can be motivated or empowered by them. Forgiveness is a choice. And feelings often aren’t. So it’s quite possible to forgive someone the right way — God’s way — and still have thoughts flash across your mind that seem to contradict the decision you made.
Forgiveness is not like planting tulip bulbs, where you never have to think about tit again, and everything just naturally comes up nice and pretty in the spring. No, life goes on. Sometimes old feelings turn up when you’re not expecting them, needing to be handled and replanted. But that doesn’t negate what you’ve done. It simply gives you a new opportunity to let the Lord reign over your emotions. When you don’t feel forgiving, that’s when you just keep forgiving — by faith.
Oh, how I needed to read this!