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“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” — Corrie Ten Boom
All of us can recall times in our lives when we’ve been wronged. Whether a hurt happened to us as a child, teenager, or adult, the pain can stay with us. We may have found it difficult, even impossible, to forgive the person who harmed us. Since the pain remains, we assume we are righteous in our anger and may refuse to let go of the incident.
As Corrie Ten Boom* suggests, we might have our strategy backward: to heal, we need to make the decision, the commitment, to let go of the hurt, not so much for the benefit of the other person, but to liberate ourselves; we may never free ourselves from the memory if we wait for our hearts to mend first. Our resentment feeds the hurt; even the mention of the other person’s name can feel like a stab to our hearts. So, if we wait for the pain to vanish to offer forgiveness, we may have a very long wait.
Instead, we can make the choice to be free. We commit to letting go of the hurt, even if the memory stays with us. We also must remember that these recoveries don’t happen overnight; mending one’s heart takes courage, and may take a very long time.
Ultimately, though, if our commitment to forgiveness is genuine, we are on the path to freedom and wholeness. At times we may feel that we’ve relapsed into our anger, that meeting our goal is impossible. We just need to swallow another dose of courage and remind ourselves that we forgive others for our own healing, not because they ask us to forgive them. If they do ask us to, we will be further along on the path to redemption.
Once we commit to the “act of will” to forgive, the heart will follow.
*Corrie Ten Boom was qualified from her life experience to speak about forgiveness. For a two-minute video on her life: