Feelings lie. They tell us we are secure when we are headed for judgement. They tell us we are reliable when we are as shifty as the waves. They tell us we are on the right path when we are headed for death. They cannot be trusted. Feelings lie.
Many times in scripture, God asked his people to act against their feelings. He told them to be brave. He pushed them to trust. The beauty of faith is the act of taking God at his word. Faith in God led people to leave their lands for a promise they couldn’t see. It led His people to believe the impossible when the evidence seemed stacked against it. Faith ignores feelings. It pushes past the doubt.
Sometimes I don’t feel like forgiving people who have hurt me. My feelings say they don’t deserve it. My feelings say weren't punished enough by God so, I’ll punish them myself. My feelings say that I must protect myself, hold them at bay, hold everyone at bay. Don't trust anyone. My feelings isolate me, nurse the grudge and lead me into sin. My feelings lie and so do yours.
Mark 11:22-26 says: “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
There are a few people who I have not forgiven face to face because it would not be safe or wise to be in their presence. In those cases, I forgive in my heart. In this way, I take control of my feelings. I choose to have faith that God has done a work in me through my forgiveness, even when that person shows no remorse. In forgiving, I also pave the way for God to hear my prayers.
This rejection of my feelings opens up the door for God to move on my life, to answer prayers and to bless me in ways I can’t possibly expect.
God always shows up when His people act in faith, not feeling.
Are you holding onto your offense like a faithful friend?
Proverbs 19:11 says: “A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”
Are you afraid that forgiveness will make you vulnerable and pave the way for you to be hurt again?
Psalm 16:1 says: "Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge."
Are you taking refuge in God or are you taking refuge in your feelings? Only God can keep you safe.
He’s asking you to do something huge. He’s asking you to believe in Him enough to lay down your hurt. 1 Peter 5:7 says: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."
Trust God with your deepest hurts. Ask Him to reveal truth to you and suppress any feelings that are contrary to it. Walk by faith. Don’t lean on your own understanding. Forgive anyway.
Prayer: Abba Father, Please help my feelings to fall in line with your will for me. Help me to forgive when I don’t feel it yet. I still hurt. I feel wounded and I don’t know how to let this go. Help me to release my anger and my fear to you. Guard me so that this offense would not be repeated. Clean my heart of any bitterness so that I can move forward in freedom with complete faith, and no longer be ruled by faulty feelings. Amen.
Truth: Feelings lie, but God can be trusted. Forgive because He asked you to. Trust Him to heal the hurt that lingers and lead you to freedom.
*This devotional originally appeared in My Journey of Faith's Day by Day Devotions.