Galatians 5:22-23, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."
"If you don't feel like forgiving, that probably means you need to forgive!" Feelings are powerful, aren't they? The feeling of being in love can override all rational thought. The feeling of fear can cause us to react without thinking. Feelings are not bad, but they can often stop us from doing what we need to do simply because we aren't feeling it! When we experience the forgiveness of Christ, though, it transcends our feelings.
The Bible tells those of us who are Christ-followers that the Holy Spirit works to produce supernatural fruit in our lives – but feelings are not the fruit! So when it comes to forgiveness, we need to look past our feelings. When we don't want to forgive someone, that is a clue that we need to forgive them!
The Bible tells us to forgive others because Jesus first forgave us. Jesus is our model for forgiveness. He forgave the people who spit on Him, cursed at Him, abandoned Him and denied they knew Him. He probably didn't feel it – and no one would have blamed Him. But He pushed past His feelings in order to accomplish God's will (Luke 22:42). Shouldn't we do the same?
Read Galatians 5:22-23 and remember, the fruit is what fills us. And being filled with the fruit will always, ultimately, feel better than any of our feelings. Disengage from your feelings that keep you from forgiving and let God replace them with the fruit of the Spirit.
Dear God, please help me to trust that I can forgive others, even when my feelings don't want to forgive. I forgive _____ (name) now because You first forgave me when I didn't deserve it. Help the fruit of the Spirit grow in me as I follow You and not my feelings. In Jesus' name, Amen.