“31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:31&32
Forgiveness can be cognitive – purely in the realm of our mind. We can intelectually pardon a person for how they’ve wronged us, but that doesn’t mean that we look at them with any fondness or affection.
But God calls us to be tenderhearted toward one another.
To be tenderhearted is to be “easily moved to love, pity, or sorrow”. I’ve realized that the way I “forgive” some people is to harden myself and block any emotion toward them. I can’t feel anger or resentment if I don’t feel anything towards them, right? But obviously, that’s not what God wants. He calls us to more than that.
God commands us to love.
Love is the motivator of forgiveness. Why else would we do something so costly to us? It’s a cause/effect sort of relationship. If we have that that compassionate, tenderhearted, loving spirit towards our brothers and sisters, forgiveness flows naturally! I guess it goes back to “The greatest of these is love.”
So, I’m praying for a loving heart. Apparently, it’s the fruit of the Spirit, or something.