A Prayer about the (Often Difficult) Process of Forgiving Others
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Col. 3:13
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:18-19
Dear Lord Jesus, every time I pray the “Lord’s Prayer,” I’m confronted with the dailyness of the call to forgiveness—acknowledging the way you have forgiven me, and extending that same grace to others. Usually that’s not a big deal. Maybe it’s because I like conflict about as much as I like canned asparagus, and would rather minimize, dance around or wave off an offense than deal with the mess. But you’ve been forcing this issue with me over the past few weeks, and I know you intend my growth and freedom.
I can see how my conflict avoidance is a thin veil for the serial killer that lives within. Even as I write and pray this prayer, two names and faces come before me that I know I haven’t completely forgiven from my heart. I’ve enjoyed holding them hostage, by my critical spirit and self-righteous smuggery, by nursing a grudge and fertilizing my self-righteousness. Help me, Jesus, and others like me. Though I’m convicted, I can’t say that I relish the idea of letting go of my pain. There are moments I want “sweet” revenge more than I relish your lavish grace. Have mercy on me, Jesus. This isn’t okay.
I praise you for already forgiving all of my sins—past, present, and future; every sin of word, thought, and deed. I praise you for not merely waving off my sins, but wading into the mess and paying the supreme price of your life and death. As I ponder the riches of your grace, I realize that unforgiveness is the greatest non sequitur of all. I purpose to continue in the process of forgiving these two people, and anyone else you bring to mind. I repent, and abandon myself to the riches of the gospel. You must help me, Jesus. I cannot and I will not do this on my own. So very Amen I pray, in your holy and loving name.