“If the Bible makes it clear that Christians are a forgiven people,” Gary Inrig writes, “it also makes it clear that we are to be a forgiving people.” Forgiveness is an unnatural and outrageous act of generosity. It always costs the one who forgives more than they thought reasonable. Forgiveness is costly at any level. “It breaks the cycle of blame and loosens the stranglehold of guilt,” writes Philip Yancey. “It accomplishes these two things through a remarkable linkage, placing the forgiver on the same side as the party who did the wrong. Through it we realize we are not as different from the wrongdoer as we would like to think.”
“He who cannot forgive another breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself.” George Herbert
Today you have three prayers asking for your forgiveness: for others, for God, and for yourself. I cannot imagine which prayer will be most difficult for you. Some people are filled with resentment toward persons who caused them harm and live the adage: “bitterness is an acid that destroys its own container.” Would today be a day when you release both of you?
Others have not given themselves permission, like the Psalmists, to pray outrageous laments to God; but God can handle it, and is, in fact, waiting for you to release Him to do more of the gracious work in your life.
And still others have not pondered the need to forgive themselves. Which prayer might be most difficult for you? May be all of them? I invite you now to cross over the bridge of forgiveness:
Thank you Jesus for dying that I might be forgiven. By an act of my will, I now choose to forgive (name the person… ) who hurt me by (describe how you were hurt… ). I release (name… ) into the freedom of my forgiveness and from judgement. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Lord, I have been angry with you and have blamed you for what you have allowed to happen in my life (tell God about it… ). Please forgive me for not believing in your goodness and Your love for me. I know You hate what “the Thief” has done in my life. Thank you for sending Jesus the Healer to take away my pain. Thank You for the Spirit of adoption. Help me experience your Father-love for me in greater ways than I do now. Thank You for promising to set me free. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Thank You Father for forgiving me. I now forgive myself for the things which I know You have already forgiven me, namely (name the sin… ). I now choose to release myself into the freedom of this forgiveness, and from my own judgement. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
For more on forgiveness, go to “Getting Historical and the Paradox of Forgiveness“