Q. Once again, I need your advice. I wrote a few months back about forgiveness after a bad break up. Now that the “shock” of it all has settled down, I find myself in a new “phase” of recovery. It seems I’ve allowed my resentment towards her drag me down to defeat. There are times when I think I’ve forgiven her, then there are times I feel anger and hurt all over again.
I really want to forgive her for my own sake, but something within just won’t let it happen. I just want to be able to move on. When I think I’ve let go, it seems like it grabs me again.
A. Forgiving a person who we believe has seriously wronged us often takes time even after we decide to do so. In the meantime we have to make “contrary-to-feelings” choices to keep forgiving.
In Ephes. 4:26-27 Paul said our anger can give the devil a foothold in our mind. If we’re not careful footholds become strongholds, which makes it harder to forgive. In 2 Cor. 10:3-5 he said we can demolish these strongholds by taking our thoughts of anger captive and making them obedient to Christ.
Here’s how we do this. Every time we recall the event and experience again the negative feelings that went with it, we ask the Lord to forgive the one who hurt us and to forgive us for harboring those feelings. As we do the negative thoughts will become less and less frequent. Continuing to resist the devil like this will cause him to flee from us (James 4:7). We will know we’ve truly forgiven the other person when we can recall the event without experiencing the negative feelings.