12 Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you,
just as we also forgive those who have wronged us.
This verse that Jesus asks us to pray, is easy to say and hard to do because we have to commit our whole hearts to forgiving, nothing less will fulfill the requirement. We’re agreeing to forgive others as God has forgiven us. Not forgiving others is a dangerous choice, there are consequences, but we’d rather keep score. Every one of us has a list of grievances against others over their ill treatment of us. We have judged and condemned them, shut them out of our lives or we’re looking forward to retribution. When we don’t forgive others, it’s like the saying, “Being unforgiving is like drinking poison and then hoping the other person will die.”
Jesus knows that when we don’t forgive others, it’s a poison that eats away at our souls. We’re putting our will above God’s will, which is that we love others. This is why we need to ask God for forgiveness every day. As children of God we are forgiven and new creations in Christ, but we are still works in progress. The Spirit is transforming us as we wrestle with forgiving others with all our hearts.
Certainly there are serious things that happen to us in our lives like betrayal, toxic relationships, acts of violence or the death of a loved one that make forgiveness unthinkable. It is hard to forgive people that deliberately hurt us over and over, and we should never compromise our safety. We can forgive and retain healthy boundaries.
Yet our ability to forgive others doesn’t come from our own power but by the grace of God and the redeeming love of Jesus Christ at work in us. The same complete forgiveness given to us by God, we owe to others. This is Kin-dom work, we need to be willing to forgive, as well as to ask for forgiveness. Forgiving others is hard work and may take time. Place your grievance at the foot of the cross, tell God that you need help with releasing this from your life. God wants you to release the anger, pain and brokenness so you can find peace and abundant life. And when you do forgive, your faith will be strengthened and your trust in God will lead you to healing and wholeness.
by Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Take all your anger, your grudges, your hatred, your guilt, your bitterness, your unkindness, your inability to forgive or ask for forgiveness, take all your sins and lay them at the cross of Jesus. Ask God for forgiveness and be forgiven. Then ask God to help you forgive others. Let it go. Receive the healing mercy of loving God and be made whole.
Prayer: Loving God, it is hard to forgive others who have hurt us, and it is hard for us to ask others for their forgiveness. Send your Spirit to transform our hearts, that in seeking your forgiveness, we may also forgive others and be healed. Amen.