Have you ever read or said the Lord's Prayer? Have you ever really thought about the words? One part in particular really stands out to me. "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors..." Do you get that? We are asking the Lord to forgive us in the same way that we forgive each other. Good grief!!! Do I really want him to extend the same measure of forgiveness? Or would I rather him show me more?
I can remember a time in my life when I was not the most forgiving person there was. And truth be told, even though I have come a long way in this area, when it comes to Frank, I still can hold a good old grudge. I have a hard time letting things go. And I would find good ways to punish him for whatever too. Like the silent treatment (which probably wasn't all that much punishment but more of a relief!) or fixing something he didn't like for supper. And there was always the "NotnowIhaveaheadache" routine (don't act like you haven't done it either). Or I particularly excelled at bringing things up that were supposedly over.
Do I want the Lord to take these things into account when he starts passing out forgiveness to me? I beg for mercy instead of what I really deserve.
Matthew 18:35 says My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.
Sometimes, when people hurt us, especially when it is someone that we love, we try to punish them with unforgiveness. We think if we forgive them then we are letting them win or excusing the wrong that they did to us. When in reality the only one we are truly punishing is ourselves.
But, forgiveness doesn't remove the blame. It doesn't wipe the slate clean with God, either. It just keeps you from having to worry about how to punish them. You are just turning them over to God. And isn't He the ultimate Judge and Jury anyway?
How do we do this? Sometimes it starts just by saying it out loud, whether you mean it or not. And you may have to say it over and over to yourself just as a reminder that you have already done it.
Take the story of the ungrateful servant. After he was forgiven by the king, back then a document would have been given to the servant and one would have been kept for the king. So that if the king needed money for something else and decided to bring that man in again to get his payment they would be able to go back and pull out that document and show that debt had been forgiven. This may happen with the same servant several times. And each time that document would be shown to the king. Sooner or later the king would begin to remember that particular debt had been forgiven and he would quit trying to "retry" that servant.
The same thing happens to us. Just because you have forgiven someone doesn't mean that Satan won't try to make you "retry" that person in the court of your mind. But you can pull out that document and say "Nope, I have already forgiven them for that". That's how we really let go. And you will know that you have truly forgiven someone when the thought of them or the sight of them no longer causes you to get angry or you to start plotting what you should say or do. Instead, you begin to feel sorry for them, to pity them, and hope that things turn around for them.
WHATEVER YOU HAVEN'T FORGIVEN IN YOUR MATE, FORGIVE IT TODAY. SAY FROM YOUR HEART "I CHOOSE TO FORGIVE" This is the dare for today. I don't have any BIG thing or things that I haven't forgiven Frank for. For me, it's more of the little things. Sometimes I say that I have forgiven or let them go and I really haven't. I am just saving them as ammunition for later.
The Lord has really been working on me over the past year about true forgiveness. And even though it has not been easy, it has been freeing. Not spending my time thinking about those that wrong me. Not playing out situations in my mind and what I would say. It instead makes me seek to understand more of their position. Why it happened in the first place. What was my part in it and how can I change it?
Great marriages are not made by people who never hurt each other. Only by people who choose to "keep no record of wrongs" Wow!