Continued from here.
The second piece of armor is the breastplate of righteousness:
Stand firm then … with the breastplate of righteousness in place …” ~ Eph. 6:14
The breastplate of righteousness covers your heart, which can be the greatest impediment to wearing the belt of truth and making decisions based upon God’s Word rather than what you feel. This is why your heart needs covering. Wearing the breastplate of righteousness involves doing what God’s Word tells you to do, regardless of how you feel.
Let me give you a specific example. I did not want to forgive my childhood abusers because they, frankly, did not deserve it. They severely damaged me emotionally, causing upheaval in my life for decades. I wanted to continue hating them with every fiber of being until they were thrown into a lake of fire and tortured throughout eternity. In the meantime, I took great pleasure in visualizing myself torturing them myself. To put it bluntly, while I have never physically murdered anyone, by the Bible’s definition of murder, I was a murderer many times over, and I had absolutely no interest in releasing this hatred.
However, God commands us through the Bible to forgive those who hurt us and even ties our own receiving of forgiveness to our choice to forgive. I had absolutely no interest in obeying this command, believing that what had been done to me (which was heinous) fell outside of this directive. The reality is that the Bible includes no footnote excluding child abuse, or anything other heinous act, from this command. So, I had a choice: I could obey God & forgive or disobey God & wallow in my bitterness.
Putting on the breastplate of righteousness enabled me to follow God’s compass Due North to truth, even while my feelings screamed in protest. The breastplate of righteousness covered my heart/feelings as I made the decision to forgive based upon God’s Word and empowered me to do what God called me to do despite how I felt. I started doing what God said to do (by praying for my childhood abusers), and then my feelings eventually followed. As I repeatedly obeyed God, my feelings gradually changed. Today, I feel no animosity whatsoever toward my childhood abusers and truly hope they find forgiveness, healing, and peace in God.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace wearing angel’s wings and saying, “I forgive you.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]