Think about it. Humans do fewer things better than fail. Yup, we mess up all the time. Heck, it’s part of our overall make-up! After all, what do you expect of dirt which is exactly what we were made from? Dirt will do “dirty” things.
Us humans are nothing more than “cracked” ceramic pots walking around like flawless diamonds – in spite of being a huge chunk of dirt!
As a result, we “blow it” from time to time. Thinking about this is why I wrote this prayer to forgive others – which is coming later. First, let’s lay some groundwork to make sure we’re all on the same page. Indulge an old lady. 🙂
We ALL- as human beings – are a HOT MESS!
Absolutely. On our best day, we are still jacked up – but, God sees beyond it all. He desperately loves us and still invests in us all the same.
Just like 2 Corinthians 4:7 says “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”
The “treasure” is the Holy Spirit. The ACTUAL spirit of God is in some raggedy, frail, accident-prone jars of clay – in other words…you and I.
Wait, Girl, I don’t mean to give you an inferiority complex. Again, I’m just setting the stage, that’s all.
Wait again! Even before my prayer to forgive others, let me clear up one thing…
I hope I’m doing a great job reminding you how imperfect and unworthy we all are without Christ – and even with Him. Even as Christians, we can be pretty rank sometimes, right? Yet, God loves us and never withdraws His grace nor His forgiveness. So beautiful, right?
Let’s get one thing straight: since we mess up; we MUST forgive. It is the cornerstone of our Christian faith walk. That’s why I don’t understand why we could ever believe it’s ok to walk in unforgiveness. Who are we to hold anything against ANYONE else with all the harm, sin, and dirt we’ve done and carry in our own hearts.
Which is why forgiveness is so very crucial.
Without it, salvation and redemption would be hollow and meaningless.
Having a wonderful, loving Savior means we NEED a wonderful, loving Savior. Perfect folks don’t need salvation (also, they don’t exist all!)
Just as we have been pardoned (i.e. forgiven), God tells us to likewise forgive others. That’s why we do it. That’s exactly why.
One of the many times I had to forgive
Years ago, someone murdered my friend in a very unjust way. I carried the weight of that crime for so many years. At one point, maybe while I was in my 30s, it dawned on me how utterly foul my own hands were in the eyes of the Lord. I was born into transgression.
I’ve failed time and time again and since the Lord’s scales don’t see any difference between “big” sins and “little” sins, I was as hellbound as the man who killed my friend in anger and hate. Sin is sin. Yet, I was forgiven and released from the penalty of my sin.
You know the rest…
I had to forgive him to remain free myself. I had no choice and neither to you. It took a very, very long time to be totally disengaged from my anger. Nevertheless, I can say I am free of it now.
When memories pop into my mind, I have to forgive him again. It’s a process – one I’m committed to completing.
As Christian women, we don’t have a choice.
We have to forgive the people who hurt us. As a matter of fact, if we don’t forgive them, we won’t be forgiven ourselves! Yikes!
Check out Matthew 6:14 and 15:
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.“
So how do we forgive?
The answer is simple, but the process isn’t always so easy. Sorry.
Here’s the skinny, in my opinion: it takes a while to forgive someone – whether you’re a Christian or not!
Yep, we forgive in pieces.
When someone wrongs you, imagine the offense is written on a huge blackboard.
When you remember it (and you will!) or feel it’s pangs of it (and you will!), imagine yourself erasing it and no longer charging it to their “account”.
Be gentle with yourself through this process. It’s hard. So hard that many give up on the process altogether.
Similarly, you may have to repeat this over and over again depending on how deep-seated the hurt was.
It may take weeks, months, or even years to genuinely forgive some people and that’s ok. Don’t you agree?
Before we pray the prayer and forgive,
let’s think it through a bit.
Here some common questions about forgiveness. Let me know if you agree with my answers.
Q. “What if they don’t apologize?”
A. Doesn’t matter. Just be obedient to God’s word and keep your heart free from the bitterness that usually comes from long-term unforgiveness. Girl, bitterness will destroy you spiritually and eventually even physically if you hold it in.
Check out June Hunt’s book on forgiveness (click the image below). You may have heard of this Christian counselor from her powerful radio show. It’s good! Click here to learn about Hope for the Heart. Gird up your loins! It will change your life! Really.
Q. “What if they want to remain friends?”
A. Pray about it. The continued fellowship is not always possible after betrayal.
Here’s why: some “offenders” have been so wounded by others they continually perpetuate a cycle of torment and pain. It’s like they can’t help themselves.
Have you heard the saying: “hurt people tend to hurt other people?”
It’s true. Abusers tend to abuse others. It’s a wicked and sad pattern.
Fellowship with a person that hurt you must be carefully considered; you must pray about it.
Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you.
Frankly, I have no interest in being “friends” with the man who murdered my friend. All I would do is let him know he is forgiven, beyond that I have nothing for him. Actually, we were not friends before, so my scenario is not really applicable here.
Anyway, if the person is able to love you and befriend you in a healthy way; then go for it. However, if they are plagued by extreme negativity, unhealthy patterns and disloyalty, you may have to distance yourself for a while or forever.
If you feel directed to continue the relationship, I think you must first heal, and they must first become whole.
The goal, I think, in most situations (not all!) should always be reconciliation. Do you agree? Am I wrong?
IMPORTANT NOTE: Again, I think you should pray about it because God may want to use you to be His light in their lives. They could be your assignment. So, pray, pray pray for guidance.
Finally …don’t forget the forgiven must forgive.
In short, God made forgiveness possible for us to enjoy the blessings of His kingdom; we must make it available to others.
There’s liberty and freedom in living a lifestyle of forgiveness. God demonstrated forgiveness to us so that we can demonstrate it to others.
Let’s strive to walk it out! Firsts, let’s pray our prayer to forgive others!
A sample prayer to help you forgive others.
Father, you taught me how to pray and in your prayer, you said I must forgive other people who have harmed me. I have no choice. Yet, in my heart, I want to be like you, so I choose to forgive.
Lord, please help me forgive___________________ right now. He/she has created so many problems for me. They hurt my heart and wounded my spirit. I literally feel a bruise on my heart as a result of him/her. I can’t live this way because I know it will make me angry, bitter and untrustful.
I also cannot live this way because, if I do, I will live in disobedience to you. I don’t want that because I love you and I don’t want that because I know you must discipline such behavior.
Father, I know your discipline is because you love me. Still, I want to walk in obedience.
Lord, empower me by the Holy Spirit to be forgiving. Change my heart. Help me replace memories. Help me to not ponder on what was done to me, but rather, the glory you have put before me.
As I go through this forgiveness process and as I pray this prayer to forgive others, help me remember I, too, am guilty.
I’ve made so many mistakes and received forgiveness. Help me to likewise forgive those who make mistakes as well.
So, today, I release ____________________ from their offense. I wipe their slate clean. Please heal my heart. When I see ________________, I don’t want to feel anger or bitterness. I don’t want to harbor those things in my heart. Instead, I want a peaceful heart and a heart open to love and to forgiveness.
Tell me, Father, if I should be “friends” with _____________ again. I do realize he/she may have patterns in their life that requires healing for them to be in healthy relationships. Let me know what to do and help me to want to do it.
For now, I pray for ______________. I pray you forgive him/her for what they did to me. I pray you bless them in every area of their life. Bless their health, Lord. May they enjoy years of good physical health. Bless them with good relationships in their lives and lots of people who love them. Bless them financially and meet every one of their needs and give them the desires of their heart.
Just as you forgave me, I forgive _____________________ this moment. As memories re-surge, I will forgive __________________ again.
I will be obedient to your word. In Jesus name, Amen.
“But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you,” Matthew 5:44
Remember, there’s work beyond this prayer.
Prayer is NOT a “1” and Done
You’re likely going to pray to forgive others several times and that’s okay.
Memories are real, powerful realities. One memory can re-ignite anger and bitterness, Christian woman. So, be gentle with yourself, ok?
Indicators you have NOT forgiven someone:
1. You talk constantly about the pain they caused you.
2. When you see them, your face still gets hot and you feel that thing in the pit of your stomach.
3. You cannot pray for them to be blessed and prosper for two straight weeks. (Try it! As you saw in the gray box above, the Bible tells us to pray for those who hurt us. If you can’t, you likely need to work on forgiveness, Girl!)