…And You’re Not Ready to Forgive and Forget
When a man I loved left me, I couldn’t hate him — when you truly love someone you wish him the best. But I felt terribly shocked and wounded. His occasional calls gave me false hopes and only prolonged my grief. Desperate for a way to cope with the burden of my pain, I remembered Luke 6:28: “bless those that curse you; pray for those that mistreat you.”
“Praying for him” did not mean begging God to turn back the clock and make everything all right. That didn’t help me heal. It meant finding a way to pray that God would bless and keep this man, and light his way. Praying for him took my focus off of myself and balanced things out. I needed it, and he needed it.
Then I looked for advice on how to pray even while the very thought of this person still cut me and I was not yet ready to forgive or forget. It was left to me to humbly offer these suggestions.
- While praying for the one who hurt you, avoid picturing him. Put away the photos. Don’t relive memories good or bad. These inspire grief, not prayer. Picture not his face or self but the God in him, the divine spark given to us all. I saw this as a chunk of gold or a wink of light. This helped me see that this man still had goodness in him and needed my prayers.
- Don’t pray for this person to change, or for their conversion. These things are in God’s hands and/or in the hands of the individual. Prayer is powerful but it does not make the phone ring.
- Pray for your own understanding. Praying for my loved one broke up my constant pleading and bargaining with God and let God get a word in edgewise. He informed me: “This person is in the dark, and must find his own way out. You cannot help him.” This was painful to hear, but now I knew better what to pray for.
- Be busy while you pray. Lying awake at night or kneeling alone in a chapel will only summon up memories, anger, and sobs that may be natural but keep your wound from healing. Sweep the sidewalk, take a walk with a camera, practice free-throws with the children. Just get active, and then pray, when you think of it, “God, please bless him (or her),” or “Help me understand.”
- Keep these prayers short and simple. “God, please protect her,” “God, please help him quit drinking,” “Dear God, let him find peace” — those are sufficient.
- Get “above” it. Imagine you are viewing the earth from above, as if it were a dollhouse with the roof cut away. There you are, and, miles away, there he (or she) is, perhaps watching TV, working, sleeping, dating someone else. From this distance you both look a lot like the rest of humanity. This perspective encourages an open heart and compassion so you can stand to ask for blessings on the person whose behavior tempts you to hate.
- Pray with just one other person. Grief and resentment are natural but keep you spiritually isolated. Ask one person to pray with you. (Prayer circles do not seem to work for this; you get sympathy, but later when you are alone, the pain returns in full force.) It doesn’t matter if you pray with a family member or a stranger for blessings on the lost one; it just helps.
- Don’t “expect a miracle.” Your expectations — especially when you are grieving or resentful — might not line up with God’s will or what is best for you or another. To expect something is to be passive, a taker. Pray for a miracle, but don’t “expect” it.
I knew I had forgiven him. At least, I thought I had. But as I spotted him from a distance coming up the aisle at the grocery store, a familiar pain pinched my stomach. I scurried over to the next aisle, ducking out of view. I began to wonder. Had I really forgiven this person who hurt me? I remember speaking words of forgiveness in prayer, but did I accept them in my heart?
Jesus gave us the ultimate example of how to forgive when he willingly hung on a cross to offer us forgiveness for our own sins. He spoke the powerful words, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34 NLT) This unfathomable demonstration of sacrifice showed how important it is for us to forgive. Yet we still struggle with it. So how can we forgive someone in our prayers and know we truly mean it with our hearts?
Colossians 3:13 says, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” The words Paul shared with the church in the verses that follow can serve as instruction when we pray to forgive those who hurt us. Forgiveness is hard. But with God’s Word as our guide, we can learn to forgive even in the deepest places of pain. We can fully release the hurt and move forward with a newfound compassion for our offender.
Have you struggled to forgive that person who hurt you? Here is a prayer for forgiving them. Let’s join together in prayer with these words to our Heavenly Father. May they help us offer the gift of forgiveness today.
Dear Merciful Lord,
SEE ALSO: 5 Ways to Pray Right Now to Defeat Fear
Thank you for your gift of forgiveness. Your only Son loved me enough to come to earth and experience the worst pain imaginable so I could be forgiven. Your mercy flows to me in spite of my faults and failures. Your Word says to “clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” (Col. 3:14) Help me demonstrate unconditional love today, even to those who hurt me.
I understand that even though I feel scarred, my emotions don’t have to control my actions. Father, may Your sweet words saturate my mind and direct my thoughts. Help me release the hurt and begin to love as Jesus loves. I want to see my offender through my Savior’s eyes. If I can be forgiven, so can he. I understand there are no levels to your love. We are all your children, and your desire is that none of us should perish.
You teach us to “let the peace that comes from Christ rule in our hearts.” (Col. 3:15) When I forgive in words, allow your Holy Spirit to fill my heart with peace. I pray this peace that only comes from Jesus will rule in my heart, keeping out doubt and questions. And above all, I am thankful. Not just today, not just this week, but always. Thank you for the reminder, “Always be thankful.” (Col. 3:15) With gratitude I can draw closer to you and let go of unforgiveness. With gratitude I can see the person who caused my pain as a child of the Most High God. Loved and accepted. Help me find the compassion that comes with true forgiveness.
And when I see the person who hurt me, bring this prayer back to my remembrance, so I can take any ungodly thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5) And may the confidence of Christ in my heart guide me into the freedom of forgiveness. I praise you for the work you are doing in my life, teaching and perfecting my faith.
SEE ALSO: A Prayer for Peace Within
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Kristine Brown is a communicator at heart who teaches about God’s powerful, relatable Word. She is the author of Over It. Conquering Comparison to Live Out God’s Plan and founder of the non-profit organization, More Than Yourself, Inc. Kristine writes about her God-story and helps others discover their own at www.morethanyourself.com.
Publication date: August 30, 2016
SEE ALSO: A Prayer for When You Feel All Alone
Top Praying For Someone Who Hurt You Quotes
Browse top 18 famous quotes and sayings about Praying For Someone Who Hurt You by most favorite authors.
Favorite Praying For Someone Who Hurt You Quotes
1. “Let me just try to give you sort of the intuitive one here on the stimulus funds. If you have a two-person economy – let’s imagine we have two farms, and that’s the whole world, just two farms. If one of those farmers gets unemployment benefits, who do you think pays for him? Am I going way over your heads today?”
Author: Arthur Laffer
2. “When you see someone you love with somebody else, your heart kind of falls to the ground.”
Author: Ashlee Simpson
3. “Carmen blinked and shuddered like someone chewing a lemon ring, enduring a throat culture, challenging a habanero mano-a- mano. “Unbelievable.” She spat the word out.”
Author: Dennis Vickers
4. “Out all of these zillions of letters, one of the first ones that came was, as it turned out from Johnny Carson within the last five or six weeks of his life. I had worked with him. He lost a son who had worked for me.”
Author: Dick Ebersol
5. “A story is a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.”
Author: Donald Miller
6. “‘Rosemary’s Baby’ is still one of my favorite movies of all time. The idea of her being impregnated with the devil is just so frightening. I’m actually going to work on a movie in February, called ‘Mercy,’ from Jason Blum, who produced the ‘Paranormal Activity’ movies, and there is a similar theme to ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ in the movie.”
Author: Dylan McDermott
7. “I had brought up from Chile a contract agent whose cover was that of a newspaper publisher in Santiago, a young, very talented man, named Dave Phillips, who later on carved quite a career for himself in the agency.”
Author: E. Howard Hunt
8. “Her library is a meeting place for all who love books. They discuss matters of the world and matters of the spirit.”
Author: Jeanette Winter
9. “The desire and the effort to give to the Lord, born of the surrender of man to the plan of salvation, stamp every Christmas gift with genuine value. They who identify themselves with the plan, who do not resist it, who earnestly seek to tread the path of the plan, are true givers to the Lord, and their gifts to men come with the flavor of heaven. The Lord and his plan must have place in our Christmas celebration.”
Author: John Andreas Widtsoe
10. “He who dies before he dies does not die when he dies.”
Author: Jon Kabat Zinn
11. “Argumentative exhibitions bring issues to life in a way that very much irritates traditional curators who want to see their pictures valued for themselves.”
Author: Jonathan Miller
12. “No great achiever – even those who made it seem easy – ever succeeded without hard work.”
Author: Jonathan Sacks
13. “It wasn’t the same sort of defiant attitude she saw so often among young men of the ton. She’d met so many men of that kind – the ones who made such a point of defying convention, and then spoiled the effect by going out of their way to make sure that everyone knew how daring and scandalous they were.”
Author: Julia Quinn
14. “I’m not the kind of director who aims to send a message out.”
Author: Park Chan Wook
15. “Really, it’s not people who don’t understand us who drive us nuts—it’s when those who shouldn’t, do.”
Author: Pauline Kael
16. “I don’t have a set image. In fact, I would be curious to know how someone slots me.”
Author: Randeep Hooda
17. “To understand our world, we must use a revolving globe and look at the earth from various vantage points. If we do so, we will see that the Atlantic is but a bridge linking the colorful, tropical Afro-Latin American world, whose strong ethnic and cultural bonds have been preserved to this day. For a Cuban who arrives in Angola, neither the climate, nor the landscape, nor the food are strange. For a Brazilian, even the language is the same.”
Author: Ryszard Kapuściński
18. “What is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone?”
Author: Winston Churchill
Well, this is a tough one, isn’t it? Why on earth would you want to pray for someone who’s hurt you? Honestly, when someone hurts me, most of the time I don’t……well not at first anyway.
When’s the last time you were hurt by someone? When’s the last time someone disrespected you by not only hurting you once but by hurting you over and over again with no regard for your feelings whatsoever?
How does Jesus expect you to pray for that person? I mean, seriously now. That person just treated you horribly. Is this for real?
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What Jesus calls us to do
Well, my friend….it’s for real. Jesus does call us to pray for those who’ve hurt us, but how are we supposed to do that?
First and foremost, you need to realize that Jesus already knows how difficult it is – He knows everything about you, so there’s no reason to try and hide your feelings from Him. You can find great comfort in knowing that you can go to Him for absolutely everything. Your joys, your concerns, and your challenges….all of it!
Go to Him when you are hurting and He will soothe your pain. Go to Him when you are joyful. He will share your joy and multiply it. by Sarah Young, Jesus Calling
We certainly don’t set out to hurt someone, but think about this……how many times have you done just that? How awful did you feel when you realized you had hurt them? Wouldn’t you like to know that they were praying for you? Praying for you to understand how you hurt them, praying for you to learn from your mistake so that you don’t hurt them, or anyone else, like that again. Asking Jesus, on your behalf, to forgive you.
If Jesus can love you unconditionally, no matter what you’ve done, couldn’t you pray for someone who has done something they shouldn’t have? You can begin with this prayer,
“Lord, I know you want me to pray for this person. You already know this is difficult for me and I don’t really want to (remember, you don’t have to sugar coat it. He already knows), but Lord, I pray your will in this person’s life. I pray they turn to you for direction. Please give me eyes to see and ears to hear your perspective. Please, also, grant me patience while you work your will and the grace to accept it.
I pray this every day – over and over again. I pray they humble themselves before Him, and that they want to seek his forgiveness…want to change and no longer treat people this way.
What Jesus shows me
Do you know what happens EVERY SINGLE TIME I pray this for someone? He shows me a look at this person through His eyes. Seriously, every time. And you know what I see???? A person who is struggling just like me and…..are you ready for it…..He shows me my role in the situation. Did you catch that? It bears repeating…I see what I’ve done wrong in this situation.
I see my role in not forgiving that person, or talking about them when I shouldn’t have, and not showing them grace like I should have. Grace that Jesus ALWAYS gives me freely – grace that I certainly don’t deserve.
Talk about humbling! The first time Jesus shows you this, let me tell you it’s one of those “whooooaaa moments.” One where it feels like he just picks you up and says, “Hey! Listen up!”
There are times that I’m so upset by what this person has done and, what I call, completely “gridlocked.” I can’t even think because I’m so upset. Those are the times that I go to Him with this prayer,
“Lord, I can’t do this right now. I can’t even think straight. Thank you for loving me unconditionally. Thank you for already equipping me with what I need to handle this challenge today. Thank you for allowing me to be me. I know that while I can’t pray for this person right this moment, you will help me get through this and I will pray for them when I calm down, after I get through this extreme feeling of being gridlocked.”
When you get like this, Jesus completely understands. He’ll pick you up and comfort you until you can stand on your own. He does that for you – no questions asked. Complete, unconditional love.
He certainly doesn’t expect you to keep going back for more bad behavior, but he does expect you to continue to pray for the person who’s hurt you.
Believe me, I don’t have it all figured out. I am in the trenches right beside you. We’re all a work in progress – on our own journey with Jesus, and we can help each other through these challenges.
The next time someone hurts you, go to Jesus first. He’s right there waiting for you….all you have to do is ask.
Until next time, my friend…..
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