Nathan and I have a prayer we pray together almost everyday.
It’s a simple prayer…..
a weak prayer……
a desperate prayer…….
but a sincere prayer……..
We can’t do this. We need You. We throw ourselves upon Your mercy and grace. Apart from You, we can do nothing. But, we know You can do all things and we acknowledge Your strength in us to do what you have called us to do.
Now, there are some things that are easy for us to do.
Eating, brushing our teeth, loving people who love us, sitting by a fireplace for hours on a cold winter morning with a good book, going on vacation….etc.
You know- the fun stuff- the necessary stuff.
But it’s the other stuff that can trip us up and maybe even short-circuit our brain.
especially when the pain of being betrayed or violated is off the charts.
And before I share my simple, yet difficult piece of advice, I want to reassure you that forgiveness does not mean-
What happened was okay.
(Just a few days ago I asked granddaughter 1 to apologize to granddaughter 2 after she acknowledged what she did was not nice. Granddaughter 1 apologized and granddaughter 2 said, “It’s okay.” I got eye level with granddaughter 2 and explained that what granddaughter 1 did was not okay and that all she needed to do was decide is if she was going to forgive. Granddaughter 2 said yes she wanted to forgive and reassured granddaughter 1 that she forgave her. They ran off together and resumed playing.)
In all fairness, the offense was not traumatic. It was an “easy” forgive.
I also did not expect my granddaughters to completely understand the depths of forgiveness. At this stage, they are just learning the “language” of forgiveness.
Yet, I had a sense they might have understood better than some of us adults.
When forgiveness is costly….
when the pain touches our identity……
when it feels like to forgive would be saying “It’s okay”…….
there really is only one place we can go that makes sense to our wounded-ness
The place of faith.
( To have a flicker of hope that there is a God who would only ask us to do this for our good and even for the good of the one who hurt us if they will receive it.)
That faith can be found in a sincere prayer of confession that may sound a little messy- God’s not afraid of our messy:
I can’t do this. In fact, I don’t even know if I want to. But I am wiling. I am willing to surrender to Your strength to do this through me. You have told me that to be forgiven, I need to forgive. I feel like what You’re expecting is unfair. It hurts and even makes me angry. Yet, I am willing. I am willing to trust You in this. You have said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” It’s not up to me to make this person pay if they never repent. But perhaps, if they know they have forgiveness available to them, it will lead them to repent. Perhaps they will receive it and be transformed, even as You transformed me through the gift you gave me. Greater still, maybe forgiveness is my doorway to joy.”
Yes, this could be called teeth-gritting forgiveness but it’s a sincere start.
It’s not the way Jesus forgave us.
He did not begrudgingly forgive us.
He forgave us with joy in His heart because He knows if we would receive His forgiveness, it would save us, change us….transform us.
I recently posted that until we adore Jesus (And what He did for us) making Him our example is impossible. (Paraphrased)
Adoring Jesus first comes from the revelation that He truly did save us from our sin and the wrath to come.
He forgave us.
We needed a Savior and He was it.
No other way.
Our journey of growing adoration comes from looking at Him.
Discerning His Voice.
Studying His story……His life…..The Word. (What He did FOR us.)
If unforgiveness has you held captive, start here.
Start with a simple, yet difficult prayer, of confession.
Then set your heart on knowing Him.