This past week we have focused on forgiveness. Consider the following as a review of what forgiveness is and is not.
- Forgiveness is not forgetting.
- Forgiveness is a choice, a decision of your will. Since God requires you to forgive, it is something you can do.
- By forgiving, you let the other person off your hook, but they are not off God’s hook.
- You forgive others for your sake so you can be free. Forgiveness is mainly a matter of obedience to God. God wants you to be free; there is no other way.
- Forgiveness is agreeing to live with the consequences of another person’s sin.
- Do not wait for the other person to ask for your forgiveness before forgiving them. They may never do so.
- How do you forgive from your heart? You allow God to bring to the surface the painful emotions you feel toward those who’ve hurt you.
We need to forgive others so satan cannot take advantage of us (2 Cor. 2:10,11). Ask God to bring to your mind the people you need to forgive. You can do this by praying the following prayer out loud:
Heavenly Father, I thank You for the riches of Your kindness, and patience toward me, knowing that Your kindness has led me to repentance (Rom. 2:4). I confess that I have not shown that same kindness and patience toward those who have hurt me. Instead, I have held on to my anger, bitterness and resentment toward them. Please bring to my mind all the people I need to forgive in order that I may do so now. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
On a seperate sheet of paper, list the names of people who come to your mind. At this point don’t question whether you need to forgive them or not. If a name comes to mind, just write it down. Often we hold things against ourselves so write “myself” at the bottom of your list so you can forgive yourself. Forgiving yourself is accepting the truth that God has already forgiven you in Christ. Also, write down “thoughts against God” at the bottom of your list. Obviously, God has never done anything wrong, but sometimes, we harbor angry thoughts against Him because He did not do what we wanted Him to do. You can pray the following prayer out loud after you have gathered the names:
Lord, I choose to forgive (name of person) for (say what they did to hurt you) even though it made me feel (share the painful feelings). Lord, I choose not to hold any of these things against (name) any longer. I thank You for setting me free from the bondage of my anger towards (name). I now ask You to bless (name). In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.