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,
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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.
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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
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It’s so easy to hate. It’s so easy to put the blame on other people. It’s so easy to wish bad upon someone.
So, why is it so challenging to accept things as they are, forgive, and move on?
Luke 6:28 says “Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.”
I will be the first one to tell you, that is not an easy task.
Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to come to terms with. Looking someone in the eyes who has hurt you, or done you wrong, and just forgiving is tough.
But we follow the word of the Lord. We pray that the ones who have done us wrong, find peace and happiness. We pray that God will one day fill their hearts, as much as He filled yours.
As challenging as it is. . . take a step back when someone does you wrong, think about how much God can transform their lives.
Pray for them, wish them nothing but good, and good will come to you! Finding forgiveness in your heart is challenging, but let God lead the way.
When Jesus calls us to love our enemies, we might wonder what that really means in practice. Surely, we’re not to get all warm and fuzzy when we think about those who seek to hurt us. That’s our culture’s view of romantic love, not the kind of robust, challenging love envisioned by Jesus, a love that is more about action than about feelings. But what sorts of action embody a love for our enemies?
Jesus gives several specific examples in Luke 6:27-36. In verse 28, for example, he says: “Bless those who curse you.” To bless, in this instance, means to speak well of someone or to speak kindly to that person. Perhaps there is someone in your place of work who is spreading false rumors about you in order to advance above you. How will you respond? According to Jesus, not by retaliating. Rather, you are to love this “enemy” by speaking well of him, even when his back is turned. Or, when you see her, you should address her politely and graciously.
Jesus adds, “Pray for those who hurt you.” There is nothing wrong with asking the Lord to get them to stay their hand. But praying for them involves asking good for them, seeking the Lord’s presence in their lives and transformation of their hearts.
Prayer of this sort may sound easy enough in the abstract, but when you are really praying for real enemies, it can feel counterintuitive and even offensive. In the week following the attacks of 9/11/2001, Irvine Presbyterian Church joined thousands of other churches across our nation in hosting a special prayer service. We poured out our grief to the Lord. We asked him to comfort the families of those who had died. We prayed for firefighters and police officers, many who were risking their lives in the wreckage of the World Trade Center.
And we prayed for our enemies, for those who had planned the attacks and were no doubt plotting further harm to the United States. I was responsible for this particular prayer, and I labored over it for hours. What I wanted to say was, “Lord, wipe them out. Destroy them,” but I sensed that this was not what Jesus meant when he taught us to pray for our enemies. So, I did pray that those who had planned the attacks would be brought to justice, knowing that is was consistent with God’s will. But I also prayed that God would touch their hearts, bringing them to repentance. I asked that he would reveal his love and grace to them, so that their lives might be transformed.
As I prayed this way, I could sense the tension in the room. It was almost as if I had uttered profanity in my prayer. Nobody stormed out in anger. And, near as I can recall, nobody even sent me a nasty email. I did have a few people comment on my “bold prayer.” For me, praying for our enemies that day was truly one of the hardest things I ever have had to do as a pastor. It was an act of sheer obedience.
I’ve said it before. Loving our enemies is not easy. Nor is it easy to bless them or to pray for them. But this is the way of Jesus.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you ever blessed someone who was speaking poorly of you? How did it feel? What happened inside of you when you did this? Have you ever prayed for those who hurt you? Are there people in your life right now who are seeking to harm you, for whom you need to pray? What keeps you from praying for your enemies? What helps you to do it?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, you know how hard it is to do what you ask in this verse. You know because you did it. You blessed those who cursed you, even as you suffered in agony on the cross. You asked the Father to forgive those who were torturing you to death.
And you ask me to imitate you in this behavior. I must confess that part of me just doesn’t want to do this. I want to ignore your command, Lord. I want to pretend as if it’s not really for me. Yet your word is clear.
Help me to bless those who curse me and pray for my enemies. Yes, I ask for the grace to pray for global enemies, for those who would continue to want to hurt me and my fellow citizens. But I also ask you to help me pray for the “little enemies” in my life, for people at work who get under my fingernails, for the politicians whose views drive me crazy, for the check-out clerk who didn’t even say “thank you.” May my heart be trained so that my first instinct when someone wrongs me is to lay that person before you in prayer.
Today, Lord, I also want to pray for my brothers and sisters who are confronting enemies who do far more than curse. I pray for those who are facing harassment, torture, and even the possibility of martyrdom because of their faith. Yes, I continue to pray for their deliverance, for justice and protection. But I also pray that you will give them the supernatural ability to love as you call us all to love, even to pray for those who hurt them.
I pray in the name of Jesus, who lived what he commanded. Amen.
Featured image by Will Foster. Used with Permission. Source via Flickr. This reflection by Mark D. Roberts was originally shared at TheHighCalling.org.
by Daphnee Bastien (Boston Ma)
Pray. for gail st jude she dont get alone with me. she makes me feel worthless hopeless unhappy feel stupid feel weird feel direspected thats the way i feel when she talk me like she give me no respect at all i really dont know what to do or to say anymore n also pray.
for louise shes the same way as gail i think is because im living in a shelther they staff overther dont give people the respect that we desserve also pray. for jessica that put me in trouble last friday she told kim the director that i said i was going to kill her her now they moving me to another shelther i dont know how far is it pray for her pray. for the girls in the shelther none of them dont like me at at all they keep accusing me for no reason also.
pray. for that asian girl in the shelther shes accused me of doing voodoo on her pray for my enemies give them a happy. life n pray for my family some of them is having a hard time pray for carlin riguad thats in jail claiming im the only one he wants to be with pray for our relationship also pray for my father that i never heard from him he hurt me alot specially when. i was pregnant he treats me do badly i thought i was gonna give birth early n pray for edwidge bastien him n i dont get alone at all he used me he kick me out in his house when i was homeless he hurt me so bad pray for me thats having a hard times everysingle day here in the shelther it seems like people wont leave me alone i dont have peace n quiet with them.
i cant seems to live the life i want t o live the quiet life. i dont have a peace of mine at all im always worried doing some deep thinking but the wrong ones i dont know why i feel like people dont care about people anymore they doing people wrong for no reason pray. for me to get the housing im in pain im so sad im living with fear i dont know whypray for my baby i dont get him sometimes hes acting weird heal him protect him father god i dont know what to do anymore i feel like im going nuts please pray for me pray for my problems my tribulation my weakness n also pray for me to control. my temper i get mad fast i dont know when. i flip out pray for stranger that around me people thats in my life people thats coming in my life people that.
i will meet pray for me im so miserrable please heal my body fathergod i have a sickness for so long i dont know what to do with mt body anymore. im always alone depressed always with tears im so stress out im loosing my hair. i feel pain everyday. thank u jess