I was talking with a woman about my background, in which I shared that I have fully forgiven all of my child abusers and everyone else who has hurt me. Later in the conversation, she made reference to me loving my abusers, and I corrected her, stating that I do love feel any love for them. She reminded me that I have forgiven my abusers and concluded that I must either love them or have not yet forgiven them. I replied that I do not, in my flesh, have one ounce of love for my abusers. However, because I love God and God loves them, I experience God loving them through me.
I have written quite a bit about forgiveness, and I think this is an important point for people to understand. Love is a choice, not a feeling. If I had to wait to feel love in my heart for my abusers before I could forgive them, then I might never reach a state of forgiveness. The way I know I have forgiven my abusers, as well as others who have hurt me, is that I rarely think about them, and when I do, there’s no pain or anger. Note that I said nothing about feeling anything warm and fuzzy for them. I have no desire in my flesh to interact with them, nor do I feel drawn to them.
That being said, I have sensed God’s leading me to interact with some of the people who have hurt me over the years – people against whom I used to live in a state of unforgiveness. I would think about them a lot, and whenever I did, I felt anger and pain. I feel neither when I interact with them today, but I also do not “feel love” for them. From the outside, though, it would appear that I “feel love” because of the way I treat them – with compassion, kindness, and respect. This is because love is a choice, not a feeling, and I choose to love them. I’ll explain what I mean by that in my next blog entry.
To be continued…
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace drawing a heart. Courtesy Bitmoji.]