I wrote this post months ago, but it continues to draw many readers. It seems that we often need to forgive. I know I do. And I think the grace extended in forgiving expands into gratitude–especially appropriate at Thanksgiving, but needed all year long.
Steve and I had the privilege of teaching at our church—Antioch21—on Sunday. Over the summer the theme is Relationships, and we are teaching on two of the Sundays. This Sunday we talked about forgiveness.
One of our main points: Relationships require forgiveness.
We focused on the importance of forgiving—in big things and in the little every day irritations—for all relationships, but especially in marriage. We are flawed people who hurt others—even those we love.
Scripture is abundantly clear that God wants us to learn to forgive, even though people have wronged us and don’t deserve forgiveness. Paul sums it up with this instruction: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)
And of course, our model is Jesus Himself, who said from the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
We spent a lot of time talking (conversation is always part of the sermon time at Antioch21) about forgiving—the big, seemingly impossible to forgive things, and the little hurts that happen every day.
Then we provided a prayer to help us to take the step to forgive someone who has hurt us or offended us. (I first shared a similar prayer in my recent post “Grace Forgives.”)
Perhaps there is someone you will want to forgive.
A PRAYER FOR FORGIVING
Father, thank You for Your mercy and grace toward me, and for forgiving my sins through Your Son’s death on the cross. Thank You that You forgive me over and over, for repeated sins and for new sins, big or small. I am so grateful for your grace.
Lord, I need to forgive ___________, who has wronged me, hurt me, betrayed me, offended me, sinned against me. It is hard for me to do this—I am still hurt, angry, confused. So I come asking You for the power to forgive ____________. Fill me with Your Spirit and remind me of Your love and mercy to me—and to _______________.
By Your Spirit, I choose to forgive ________________. I choose to extend grace and mercy to him/her, even as You have done for me. I choose, as You enable me, to live at peace with this person. I ask that You bless ____________ in Your love. Please may we be reconciled and our relationship healed. And if that does not happen, may I continue to love and forgive.
Thank You that this is possible in the power of Your Spirit. In Jesus’ name.
What about you? Is there someone you need to forgive?
C2012 Judy Douglass