So you chose to forgive, but you still don’t have those “forgivey feelings”? You didn’t wake up one morning and say, “I’m not going to feel resentment toward that guy anymore”? That’s because it simply doesn’t happen that way. Want to know the secret to “feeling forgivey”? Your feelings will change only as your BEHAVIOR changes.
So you have to change your behavior toward that person you chose to forgive. Jesus tells us how. Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you – Luke 6:27-28. When you feel like slapping their face, you choose to be kind to them instead. When you feel like cursing them and telling everybody how horrible they are, you bless them and speak well of them instead. When you wish them a little fire and brimstone, you pray for them instead. You may not believe it now, but eventually your feelings about them will change to match your behavior.
Your bitterness and resentment will seep away.
Jesus promises that if you DO what He says in verses 27-28, your reward will be great! (verse 35) Great PEACE. Even your body will reap the reward! Psychiatrist Loren Olson notes that “those more inclined to pardon the transgressions of others have been found to have lower blood pressure, fewer depressive symptoms and, once they hit late middle age, better overall mental and physical health than those who do not forgive easily.”*
So forgiveness is your key to peace. And it is also your key to health and happiness.
If you would like to explore more about reconciliation, we encourage you to go to the following articles: “Forgiveness” by Patrick and Dwaina Six and “The Faces of Forgiveness Part 1 and The Faces of Forgiveness Part 2” by Harold and Bette Gillogly.
Forgiveness is also dealt with in our How to Handle Anger Webinar series found at: https://marriages.net/anger-series/