The power of forgiveness has never been about us. It’s humanly impossible for us to forgive by our own strength and fortitude…because forgiveness is first and foremost about God.
When we make the choice to forgive, we do this in spite of how we feel. Contrary to common belief, forgiveness is not a feeling; it’s a conscious decision we make and see to fruition because of the grace of God that He so abundantly bestows upon us. When we choose to forgive, we are in actuality calling on God’s grace and asking Him to change our heart. What we are often saying is, “God, I know what I am saying and attempting to do is the correct thing—now, please God, let my heart ‘catch up’ with my mouth.”
In Isaiah 43:25, God says (referring to the Israelites), “I will remember their sin no more.” What does this mean? Is God saying that He forgets the sin? What I believe God is actually saying in this passage is that He chooses not to remember their sin. There is a difference. In the same way, saying “we forgive” someone does not mean that we will never remember the hurt they caused us. What it does mean is that by the help of God’s grace, He has given us the power to choose not to talk about it, or dwell on it and eventually, we choose to no longer remember it with a spirit of pain, anger, or hatefulness. This kind of power to forgive cannot be found in any counseling office, or from the abundance of self-help books found on the shelves at the corner bookstore. It can only be found in God.
Our ability to forgive only comes by the power of God’s life changing gift, the gift of His grace and mercy on our lives and because of this, He gives us the ability to love (and forgive) others, because He first loved us. (I John 4:19)