How to Follow Forgiveness Instead of Our Emotions
How do you respond when someone hurts your feelings? Do you let it rob you of joy? Or maybe your emotions run wild?
Luke 6:27-28 tells us what we should do when people hurt us:
But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Can you believe that? We're to pray something like, "Oh, Lord, I pray that You'd just make them so happy!"
I still don't get that, but I'm willing to do it in obedience and say, "Lord, I don't know that I really want them to be happy, but I'll pray that in faith anyway, because You're telling me to bless them with Your presence."
Luke 6:35 goes further. It says:
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
A Tip for Following Forgiveness
Now, let's get practical about how to do this. If we have a coworker who gets the promotion that we've been believing God for, the minute we start to feel jealousy and envy, we need to go buy them a gift.
Yes, you heard me right: buy them a gift. It works. When we do it, it breaks the power of the devil because Romans 12:21 says that we overcome evil with good. It's absolutely true too. I have learned this principle and it has been life-changing for me.
What I Did When Someone Hurt Me
For example, a few years ago someone told me about a person who was doing business with our ministry and making a good deal of money because of their relationship with us. My friend happened to be at the same restaurant, seated in the next booth and overheard their conversation, which just happened to be about me—and they weren't saying good things either.
At first I got mad and just wanted to tell him that he was never getting our business again.
But in bed that night, the Holy Spirit said to me, "You're not going to do any of those things." He said, "No, you're going to do what you teach. You're going to go buy him a present, and you're going to tell him how much you appreciate the services that he's given you all these years."
Needless to say, I resisted at first. But eventually I relented and bought him a gift.
What You Must Do When Someone Hurts You
What I remember most about the situation is that as soon as I started taking action to do something good for them, it just got so funny to me. I was laughing out loud in my house, all by myself.
Listen: When we can look at people who've hurt us with compassion and pray what Jesus prayed "…Father, forgive them for they know not what they do," there's a party that goes on inside of us.
I think most of the time people don't even realize what they are doing. That man in the restaurant who was talking about me had no idea what he was doing and the position that he was putting himself in.
Why You Must Follow Forgiveness
That's why we need to pray for them and say, "God forgive them." In fact, what does God say will happen to us when we obey His Word?
Luke 6:35 states "…and then your recompense (your reward) will be great (rich, strong, intense, and abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High…." God tells us that we'll receive a reward. We will get double for our trouble if we will do things His way.
The Bible says that love covers a multitude of sins. Do you know what that means? It means that love will even have you making excuses for your enemies. Someone might come up to us and say, "Well, I heard what so-and-so did to you."
When we really decide to forgive someone and pray the prayer that blesses our enemies, making the decision that we will not talk bad about them, but instead, cover their fault and their mess, we still might not feel any different.
Now, I believe choosing forgiveness is one of the most difficult things God asks us to do, especially if we believe that whoever hurt us is in the wrong and doesn't deserve to be forgiven.
But God instructs us to practice forgiveness. And when we choose to follow the path of forgiveness, we will experience the peace and joy that come through obeying God's Word.
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