|Forgiving is not a feeling…|
As one who loves physical adventure, I gratefully believe God has blessed me with a multitude of very precious experiences. Clear evidence convinces me that only my mother’s constant prayers have saved my life on several of my many “physical misadventures”, especially during missionary journeys and pastoral work that have immersed me over many years into the wonderful local culture of the Pacific Islands of Samoa, American Samoa and Tokelau, and privileged me to serve for shorter stays in the Cook Islands, Chatham Islands, Antarctica and among refugees in Thailand. But nothing compares with the fulfilling joy of the real “adventure of the heart.”
Physical adventure excites and challenges the mind and heart and tests the body in difficult terrain. It can grow confidence and provide a sense of achievement. But that is nothing compared to the real “adventure of the heart” in an intimate personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Friend and Saviour as developed through persevering in prayer and responding to grace in trying to live the Christian life. That provides a life-long trusting friendship, joy in being loved constantly into life, and an inner freedom arising from trying with God to meet our daily challenge to build good character and attitude and trying to forgive and love those who hurt us.
When we do not forgive our enemies, it means we are giving them power and control over our feelings, mind, heart and lives. That leaves us even more frustrated. Forgiving is not a feeling, and does not mean we approve wrong or deny hurt. Rather it involves a choice to not make our happiness dependant on the other person changing – they probably will not anyway. We still work and pray for justice, but our own life is anchored now in the mercy and love of God, not in what others do or think. We become free to always act from the goodness of a big heart, and let God be God for us and others.