There are three feelings in the human heart. Thanksgiving, Forgiving and Giving Compassion. When we feel resentment towards anything or anyone, it is a clear signal that our heart is lacking forgiveness. We try to ignore it by quoting phrases like “to err is human and forgive divine”, while we justify our resentment. But forgiveness is a desire, it’s not always a goal that is met, but it is a desire. Jesus wanted to forgive people that put him on a cross. Why can’t we want to forgive each other? Here are 4 Common Problems:
1. I can NOT forgive. We should rephrase that feeling with I WILL not forgive. See James 2:10. The example of Joseph and Stephen are both goals for us to create in our heart a desire to forgive and prevent resentment.
2. I’m going to forgive, but in future I’m not having anything to do with you. The goal we must set for our self is love God shows in his kind of forgiveness, Ephesians 4:32.
3. It’s a favor from me to you. In fact, the reverse is true. We should freely forgive one another, see Colossians 3:13. The repentant offender can be forgiven by God without me extending forgiveness, but with a self-righteous attitude, I cannot be forgiven unless I try to forgive the person I offended. So when I freely forgive, I put myself in good standing with God and my own conscience.
4. I’m going to forgive, but I’m not forgetting” God does not keep a filing system and neither should we. There is a way to work on our memory and there is a way to work on our “forgetter”. We forget all kinds of shopping lists. Why can’t we forget past sins? Hebrews 8:12, 10:17.