A Prayer for Forgiving What We Can’t Forget
By: Alisha Headley
“Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sing against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” - Matthew 18:22
We have all had someone in our life who has hurt us. It could be someone who hurt us as a child and the pain still follows us today, or perhaps it's someone we face daily, whether it’s our spouse or someone with whom we work. Sometimes, these wounds are easy to heal. But what if the offense is so painful, you can’t forget it?
We are taught in the Bible the basis for believers forgiving others is the fact that we ourselves, have been graciously forgiven by God. (Ephesians 4:32) God never says we are to forget an offense, but simply forgive it. But for most of us, forgiving what we can’t forget is not so simple.
In today’s Scripture, Peter felt the same way. Jesus responds to Peter’s question with an inexact number – probably not what Peter was looking for.
Jesus was not saying we keep a tally of times we forgive and then stop after seventy times seven times. Jesus was implying a number that can’t be counted. A continual forgiveness. What this means is it will take daily practice, daily obedience, daily forgiveness, and it’s ongoing, never-ending.
So how do we walk in continual forgiveness? We do this by prayer. We are to “pray and bless our enemies and those who have hurt us.” (Matthew 5:44) And day after day, prayer after prayer, the Lord will begin to chip away the pain and soften our hearts. We may never forget the offense, but we can certainly replace that pain with a love and perspective that God plants on our hearts through our prayers.
We don’t always forget the hurt, but we can allow God to change our hearts as we forgive the hurt. Let us become more like Jesus day by day and choose to forgive just as He forgave us.
Oh, how we don’t deserve your forgiveness. Day after day, we sin, and we fall short of what you have for us. We are unworthy of your mercy, but you offer it to us new every morning. (Lamentations 3:23)
Thank you, Lord, that when we repent and ask for forgiveness, that you remember our sins no more. (Hebrews 8:12) Lord, although we still remember and may not forget hurt, you have given us the greatest example of forgiveness. You sent your son to walk the same earth we walk to experience the same hurt and betrayal we do, and yet He chose to forgive.
Help us to follow in Jesus’s example. Remind us that prayer is one of our greatest weapons and through continual prayer, praying for our enemies, you will begin to soften our hearts and give us the strength to forgive them.
Help us see those who have hurt us the same way you see them. Help us to have compassion for them.
Father, bless those who have wronged us. Show us where we are still holding back forgiveness, so that we can begin the obedient steps of forgiving.
And when we still remember, as it’s hard to forget, open our eyes to love that person, replacing the hurt with love. We thank you for forgiving us this day and every day and commit to striving to do the same.
In Jesus’ Name,
Alisha Headley is a writer and speaker who has a desire to meet the everyday woman in her everyday life with biblical truth. Healing from a chapter of life consumed with lies she once believed about herself, she is inspired to point women to Christ to experience the freedom and power to overcome those lies with the truth written in God’s word. Alisha is a proud wifey and dog mama living in Charlotte, North Carolina. You can follow her blog by visiting her website or connect with her on facebook + instagram.
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