Have you ever encountered a phone call that just made you cringe? Have you ever given someone the serious side eye because you are judging every word that leaves their lips? Have you ever mentally thought you had forgiven someone, but as soon as the person is around or even mentioned you become irritated?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, then we are in the same boat, rowing in the same direction. Forgiveness is a heart matter. Not a mental matter, not a verbal matter. A Heart Matter.
I received a phone call last week from someone who I thought I had forgiven; however, I had not engaged in a conversation with this person in a long time. Sometimes, we live as though “out of sight, out of mind” is forgiveness. Sorry to burst our collective bubble, but it ain’t. I had to really question my “love” walk. Forgiveness is a part of the love walk. It’s easy to love people we don’t have to forgive. That’s why we have to understand that “love” in not a feeling. It’s a very conscious decision we make that says “in spite of ____________, I will still love this person”.
Agape love. Agape love is a little different. It is not a feeling; it’s a motivation for action that we are free to choose or reject. Agape is a sacrificial love that voluntarily suffers inconvenience, discomfort, and even death for the benefit of another without expecting anything in return. We are called to agape love through Christ’s example: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2).
I have to make an effort everyday to forgive. To not become a Judging Judy or an Unforgiving Ursula. And let me just be transparent. I am still not all the way there with the caller I mentioned earlier. But the first step to forgiveness is acknowledgement. My name is Mama V and I have some un-forgiveness in my heart. I gotta get this heart right, for real.
To read more about Forgiveness and Agape Love check out these links: