Dear Dr. B.,
I’m really angry with someone who harmed me. I know I should forgive them, but I don’t feel like it. What advice do you have for me?
I’m glad you asked. So much of what we struggle with comes from carrying around bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness in our hearts. Recognizing the need to forgive is the first step, and you’ve done that.
Unforgiveness is like drinking a poison and expecting it to kill the other person. It doesn’t quite work that way!
In my practice, I often hear, “But, I can’t forgive them. It’s like forgetting what they have done.”
Forgiveness is not about forgetting. It’s about saying to God, “I give them and the situation to You because I know You can handle it better than I can.”
When you release the situation to God, the burden is no longer yours to carry, but His. He says He is our defender and He will fight for us.
He says in Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
Don’t mistake forgiveness for feelings. People often say they do not feel like forgiving or they have forgiven someone but still do not feel it.
Sometimes, it takes our body and our mind time to catch up. Declare you forgive them and believe it. The feeling will come later. Forgiveness is an act of will. If we wait to forgive until we feel like it, it will never happen.
Choose to forgive. Let God take care of the rest.
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