Forgiving: Take the Risk, Find the Joy – Facing My Hard Heart
Key Bible Verse: “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” – Mark 11:25
Dig Deeper: Matthew 18: 21-35
The greater the hurt or injustice, the less I want to move toward forgiveness. It seems as though it lets the people who hurt me get away with it.
That’s when I turn to what I call the prayer of permission. It’s a prayer I pray when I have no desire or motivation to do what I know I should do.
It’s a simple prayer in which I give God permission to change the way I feel about a person or situation.
I don’t ask him to help me forgive. I’ve usually asked that and gotten nowhere, because I didn’t really want to forgive in the first place. So I back up one step and give God permission to change the way I feel, to make me want to forgive.
The beauty of this prayer is that it forces me to squarely face the hardness of my heart and my subconscious resistance. I quit fighting.
Once I do, the result is almost always a rapid shift in my thinking. Forgiving no longer seems like such a bad idea. And once it no longer seems like a bad idea, it’s not so hard to do.
—Larry Osborne in Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe
My Response: The next time I struggle with forgiving someone, I will pray my own version of Larry’s prayer of permission.
Thought to Apply: I choose peace.… I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.—Max Lucado (pastor, writer)
Adapted from Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe (Multnomah, 2009)
Prayer for the Week: Heavenly Father, thank you for being a loving God who daily extends grace and mercy! Forgive me for those times I refuse to let go of anger and bitterness. Give me the grace and mercy needed to forgive those who’ve wronged me.