Free to forgive
I can never forgive him for what he did.
I can never forgive her for what she said.
I will never be able to forgive them for the hurt they have caused.
If someone has done us wrong - why should we forgive them?
Forgiveness is not easy - but it is essential.
When we do not forgive others - we continue to suffer ourselves.
Refusing to forgive is such a curse.
Choosing to forgive brings such great blessing.
When we experience God’s forgiveness in our own lives, it makes it so much easier to forgive others.
It puts things into perspective, when we know that God has forgiven us:
- For all the hurtful things we have said
- For the many horrible things we have done
- And for all the unloving things we have thought
It is a bit like when the fog clears on a winter day:
Bit by bit we begin to see the way ahead.
God offers to forgive all our sins.
And he asks us to forgive others too - just as we have been forgiven.
Forgiving is not easy.
But forgiving other people helps to set us free.
It is not something we can do in our own strength.
We need to ask God for his help.
Here is a simple prayer which you may find helpful:
"I want to forgive but I am finding it hard. Please Lord, help me to forgive …"
This, then, is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today 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 the evil one.
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.
Matthew 6:9-15 (NIV)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:12-13 (NIV)
When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is – that she is a sinner.’
Jesus answered him, ‘Simon, I have something to tell you.’
‘Tell me, teacher,’ he said.
‘Two people owed money to a certain money-lender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?’
Simon replied, ‘I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.’
‘You have judged correctly,’ Jesus said.
Then he turned towards the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little - loves little.’
Luke 7:36-47 (NIV)