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Forgiving: Take the Risk, Find the Joy – Facing My Hard Heart

Forgiveness 3Key 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.

 

 

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