Matthew 6:12 NLT
Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
It’s only when we have first received and experienced God’s forgiveness in our own lives that we can truly learn to extend that forgiveness to others. When I stop to consider my own life and what God has forgiven me for, there is so much grace for others. God has been super generous with grace for me, so I hope that I can always be quick to forgive and release others.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Forgive means to release, let go or send away. We often don’t want to forgive because we think in some way we are letting the person who has hurt us off the hook for their offence. Somehow we believe if we release them from the bitterness we are holding, they are getting away with something they shouldn’t. We want to hold them accountable and in some way, receive justice.
The great irony is that when we forgive others we are actually releasing ourselves.
You’ve probably heard that old line, unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. It’s so true. The person you hurt the most by holding onto offence is yourself.
God asks us to forgive because it’s actually good for us. He is a just God and we can rest assured that if he asks us to forgive it will not result in injustice. He makes things right in his own way. Releasing others through forgiveness isn’t just a passing suggestion we can ignore, it’s a command repeated over and over throughout scripture.
If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
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.
Plain and simple. Holding unforgiveness in our hearts is a sin of disobedience to God.
I have this line I love that helps keep my heart in check. Never let sin against you produce sin in you. You can’t let what someone else did to you cause you to stumble into sin. You’ve got to forgive in faith and release the outcome to God.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves.
The word stumble here means a stick for bait (of a trap), generally a snare, a stumbling block, an offence. Literally, the bait Satan uses to trap our hearts in disobedience to God.
There will always be opportunity to be hurt and offended, and likely more so in the church. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. The higher the expectations we have on others, the more cause there is for us to be let down and hurt. Opportunities to be offended and hold unforgiveness will always come, it’s important to think about how we deal with it.
So let’s be super practical… How do we pray this in our everyday lives? Remember, this is part of a routine daily prayer that we are to use as a guide for our own lives.
Ask God to reveal if you’ve been carrying offence against someone.
Tell him all about it… release all your hurt and feelings to him. He can take it.
Then ask him for the strength to forgive.
Ask for his heart of forgiveness towards mankind, ask him to reveal his heart to you.
Pray blessing over those who have hurt and offended you.
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Brenda Drost is a Pastor and Speaker who is known for her warm smile and passionate preaching style. Whether she is teaching at her home church or out on the road, she loves to bring challenging messages that actually help people live out their faith in the real world. She and her husband live on their farm in the beautiful Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada where they have raised their four children. Find out more about Brenda here.