Forgiveness: It's a choice

Forgiveness: It’s your choice

by Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
October 17, 2020
Kerrville Daily Times article

I was recently asked by someone, “Kathleen, what encouragement and advice do you wish you had learned when you were younger?”
My answer was quick and simple.
“Don’t wait until you feel like forgiving; forgiveness is a choice, choose to forgive and ask God to heal and change your heart,” I replied
A young version of me would frequently say, “I will forgive when I feel like it.”
I’ve always wanted to be real and true to myself, and somehow, I felt like if I did not really feel like forgiving, it would not be genuine. Most of the time, I did not feel like it because I was still hurt or offended and not willing to let go of the offense.
Years ago, someone who was a friend and in the church really hurt and betrayed me. What made matters worse, they were someone in leadership. This offense, rocked my world and shook my faith. The pain was deep, and I wondered how I would move forward in my life.
To be betrayed by someone we trust is difficult.
Finally, I prayed a prayer that forever changed my life.
“God, I don’t feel like forgiving, but I choose as an act of my will to forgive, please change and heal my heart.”
It was not a one-time prayer; I think I prayed that prayer more than 100 times to keep my heart right.
Forgiveness is the power to heal wounds of the past it cannot change. Forgiveness and healing of the heart oftentimes is a process.
I felt like a huge weight was lifted from me after the first time I prayed that prayer, and now it is much easier to say and a frequent prayer I pray to keep my heart right.
What I discovered in that time years ago was that if I simply obeyed God’s word and chose to forgive, because He admonishes us to do so, it was God’s job to change my heart, and that brought great freedom into my life.
Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV) states, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Let me emphasize the word if. God gives us a choice. We all have bad days, make mistakes and need forgiveness. If we want forgiveness when we mess up, we must be willing to forgive others.
This world is full of imperfect people, and I am one of them, but I’ve discovered there are some people who carry around offenses and hold onto them like a dear possession.
I don’t like to make mistakes, but I do, and I’m sure I have offended people in my life, although I try hard not to. All of us mess up, and forgiving ourselves and others brings great freedom.
I wasted many years in my life, carrying the baggage of unforgiveness around. Unforgiveness weighs us down, puts a scowl on our face and robs us of peace and an abundant life. Unforgiveness keeps us stirred up, wastes time and our energy.
We forgive because the Bible says it is good for us. We forgive because we want our own pain to end, and we want to be free. We forgive because we can’t change the past or other people, and we want to move forward and live an abundant life.
If your heart has been broken by someone, do yourself a favor, chose to forgive and be encouraged.
Psalms 147:3 (NIV) promises, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Our nations needs a people who are quick to forgive and are free.
Kathleen is a Hill Country writer, speaker and podcaster. She is passionate about helping people bring God into their everyday life. She can be reached at [email protected]. Visit, or