Mercy! Forgiving When It’s Hard

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We need to forgive. It sets us free. It’s basic. It’s crucial. It’s one of those MUSTS of the faith. If we want forgiveness we must forgive others. It can be hard. Something important to know:  Forgiveness is not reconciliation. You don’t have to reengage in relationship with every person you forgive. You just need to quit trying to make them pay for what they did. The decision on what sort of future relationship you have with someone you have forgiven, or whether or not to have one at all; that is a different subject.  Ask God for wisdom on that. Remember, forgiveness is about getting free of the past. It’s not about where to take the relationship in the future.  Here are some tips to help with forgiveness:

 

  1. Forgiveness is a choice. You don’t have to feel like forgiving in order to do it. You don’t have to be happy about it. You don’t have to feel happy immediately after you choose it. You just need to do it. If you can’t bring yourself to make that choice, then pray:  “God, change my heart. I want to be willing to forgive. Help me become willing, to be willing, to override my negative feelings and make that choice to forgive. Change my feelings. Convict me of how important this is. Give me a will that is willing to be obedient. Give me a heart that is more passionate about being close to you than it is offended over what happened to me. Give me faith to believe that healing will follow the forgiveness I release. Assure me this memory will not always carry the sting of hurt that it carries now. Fill me with the courage to take this first step towards wholeness. Amen.”

 

  1. Now speak the words, “I forgive ____ for ______________. I will no longer try to make them pay for what they did. I set myself free from thinking about what they did in the past. I wash my hands of it. I won’t purposefully reminisce or talk about what happened any longer. In fact, from now on I will turn away from stewing over old negative memories if they do pop into my mind. After I restate the forgiveness I already released, I will send those memories packing! I turn the situation that happened over to you, LORD.  You are the righteous judge. You take care of whatever you think needs to be done to make things right. You are the only one with the wisdom and the authority to sort these things out and set everything right.”

 

 

  1. Once this is done take a look at yourself. Deal with that side of the equation, too. Say something like this:  “LORD, forgive me also.  Forgive me for harboring unforgiveness in my heart. Forgive me for carrying resentment and bitterness inside. Forgive me for any critical statements I’ve made about this person. I repent for judging them, for putting them down, for thinking less of them, and for speaking words against them even if nobody but you heard me. Remove what I did from the atmosphere and wash all this evil out of my heart .  Make me a more merciful, more loving person. Increase your kindness, your generosity and your compassion in me. Make me more like you.  I can’t do it. But I can invite you to do it in me. I cooperate. I agree. I say “yes” to love. So help me! Do this mighty work in my heart. Set me free.”

 

 

  1. Now you can go one step further and pray like this: “Father God, would you forgive the person who hurt me?  Would you forgive them like you have forgiven me?  Would you bless them and help them to become more like you. I want to grow past what happened and I hope they will too.  Draw this person closer to yourself by you goodness to them. Scripture says it’s your goodness that leads to repentance. I want to experience your goodness and I hope they will too. We need more of your goodness in the world; more light not more darkness; more healing not more despair. I am so glad you are a good God and that you do not repay us as our shortcomings deserve.  Thank you for being you!  Amen.”

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Copyright 2016

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