How We Forgive Others
For many of us the idea of forgiveness is welcome when we think about God or others forgiving us, but the idea of forgiving those who have wronged or hurt us is often a different story. We like to feel as if we have control over hurtful situations, which makes it very difficult for us to take a step toward forgiving. Despite how we may feel, forgiveness is the most powerful tool we have in our journey to experience and maintain a life of freedom.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
As we talked about yesterday, we have been forgiven and washed clean by a loving Heavenly Father. The transformative part of accepting Jesus as your Savior is allowing him to be the Lord of your life moving forward. Being Lord of your life means that you are willing to allow Jesus to guide how you live your life. We are called to extend forgiveness to everyone (yes, everyone!) around us just as God has forgiven us. This process allows us to become not just consumers of God’s amazing love but also positions us to freely give it away to others.
In today’s reading of the parable of the unmerciful servant, Jesus told his disciples the importance of forgiveness. In this parable the servant represents us – our sin is a debt we could never repay. God is the king who so graciously forgives us of that debt. It’s easy for us to see the fault in the servant in the story, but it’s harder for us to realize that we have the propensity to do the same thing.
We must allow ourselves to be challenged to extend the same forgiveness to those who have wronged us or hurt us – no matter what we feel they “owe” us and no matter how “bad” we think the thing is they did to us. Unforgiveness is often a trap that the enemy uses to keep us from living life to the fullest. Extending forgiveness does not mean that something didn’t happen or that the person is now “off the hook.” It means that the things we have carried with us no longer have a hold on us. It means healing can take place in our lives. It means relationships can be restored. It means we give up control and allow God to work in circumstances that we feel are too far gone.
As we work through this week, we believe that forgiveness is the first step in experiencing real freedom. In fact, we believe it is the key to experiencing healing both spiritually and physically. Today, we challenge you to pray about any forgiveness that needs to take place in your life. Below we have included a template for a prayer of forgiveness to guide you as you ask God for help in releasing unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, strife, animosity, and resentment.
(We want to make it very clear that extending forgiveness does not mean you should remain in an abusive relationship. If you are in an unhealthy, abusive situation you should seek help and remove yourself from the situation in order to begin healing.)
Heavenly Father, I ask you to forgive me for any unforgiveness, any bitterness, any anger, any strife, any animosity, or any resentment that I may have in my heart toward _______________.
Heavenly Father, I come to you now in the Name of my Lord and Savior Christ Jesus. Heavenly Father, I forgive __________________________ for anything that they have ever done or said to me or about me. I bless __________________________ in the Name of Jesus Christ and I ask you to forgive and bless _____________________________ in the Name of Jesus. I ask you to forgive _________________, for any unforgiveness they have in their heart toward me or others. I ask you to bless _______________ and forgive ______________ of their sins. In the Name of Jesus. To God be the Glory. Amen!
ACTION STEP: Reflect on this forgiveness prayer. You can fill this out as many times as you need to, we often have more than one person to forgive. Take time to prayerfully decide whom you need to forgive.