Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
-Matthew 6:9-13 (ESV)
Forgiveness is a hard concept to talk about and it’s even harder to live out. If you’ve struggled with forgiving others, I understand, I’ve been there – you’re not alone.
Life is hard because we’re imperfect humans living with other imperfect humans. This means that we’re going to hurt people and that other people will inevitably end up hurting us. These hurts may be huge or they might be small but they happen to all of us. It’s easy, as a Christian, to just ignore the hurts that have happened to us, thinking that’s the godly thing to do, but that’s not at all what Jesus did. God didn’t sweep our sins under the rug, he acknowledged them and then paid for them. He didn’t condone them but showed us a better way.
I learned so much working at a Christian school. One of the most powerful phrases I learned was “I forgive you.” My interactions with the kids would go like this:
Student 1: “So-and-so did this to me.”
I would call the student over and start a conversation.
Me: “Okay, Student 2, what happened?”
They would tell me what happened and I would ask them some questions to see if they understood that their action wasn’t okay. When they realized what they did had been wrong I would ask “What do you say?”
Student 2: “I’m sorry”
Me: “For what?”
Then student 2 would say specifically what they were apologizing for.
Student 1: “I forgive you.”
Then the two would run off and go play together again. When I was growing up, I didn’t believe in God and definitely didn’t go to a Christian school so we never talked about this concept of forgiveness. We operated under the premise that an apology made it okay. My response to others apologizing was always “it’s okay.”
But teaching taught me a different way of looking at conflict and forgiveness.
Forgiveness isn’t saying that the action is okay and it’s not brushing it under the rug. It’s an acknowledgement of the wrong that was done and choosing not to hold it against the person any longer. As Christians we can forgive because we’ve been forgiven of so much, but that doesn’t make it easy. If you’ve been hurt and are struggling to forgive others, I encourage you to run to God. Think about your relationship with God and how much he’s forgiven you of.
“…bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13
Because our sins have been forgiven, we can forgive others, displaying the Kingdom culture to those around us, honoring the name of our loving and forgiving Father.
To go Deeper: Read Settling Beefs
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