In the prayer He taught us, and reinforced in Mark 11:25, and Luke 6:37, He spelled it out:
[Matthew 6:12, 14-15]
So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him,
'Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.'
And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.
But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, 'Pay what you owe.'
So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him,
'Have patience with me, and I will pay you.'
He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt.
When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place.
Then his master summoned him and said to him,
'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.
And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?'
And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt.
So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you,
if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."
[Matthew 18:21, 35 ESV]
KEEPING SHORT ACCOUNTS
In the last post, I mentioned the value of keeping short accounts, reviewing each day & asking God for forgiveness where appropriate. The same can be said for giving forgiveness. Small things can really clutter up the soul: the driver who cut you up, the abrupt sales assistant, the argument with the sibling, the thoughtless remark of a friend. Speaking forgiveness & blessing over each one, releases them, and sets you free from an accumulation of resentment.
What if the injury was so serious, that we just can’t forgive?
Fortunately there is help…
Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. If we are finding it difficult, we can ask the Lord to give us the ability. All He needs is for us to be willing to change.
These verses help:
that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
For nothing is impossible with God.
[Luke 1:37 NLT]
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
[Philippians 4:13 NKJV]
The following process can be really helpful:
Speak aloud to the person who did you harm, as if they were present, saying
- What he/she did to you.
- How it made you feel.
- How it damaged you/ what the consequences were.
Then pray this prayer of forgiveness:
(Name), I hate what you did to me*, but by God’s grace I choose to forgive you. You hurt me and made my life miserable, and I have borne grievous wounds because of you. I give your actions into the hands of Jesus & I let go of the hurt, anger, resentment & bitterness I have felt. I choose to forgive you now for these things. I cancel the debt you owe me, & say you are now forgiven.
I declare that in Jesus' name, I am no longer bound to you through your actions; Lord Jesus, please come now and heal every wound & make me whole. Amen
(*It's appropriate to hate the sin - but not the sinner.)
Sometimes the habit of unforgiveness lingers. It is important afterwards, every time a thought of unforgiveness, anger or resentment comes into your mind, to say: ‘I send away these negative thoughts. I have forgiven X and I say he/she is forgiven, in Jesus’ name. Amen.’
Forgiving, and being forgiven are essential requirements for living free. If you need help, seek it out, but don't delay in dealing with the issues, big or small - they make a burden you don't need to be carrying.
Let's walk in the power of forgiveness today....
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[**Photo credit: Marta Esteban Fernando @ Unsplash, with thanks]