When someone hurts you, it can be difficult to work through the pain. Sometimes the pain we feel runs so deep that it can seem impossible to forgive. But as Christians, we are called to love and invite forgiveness into our hearts.
Mother Teresa once said “If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive.” There are numerous verses in the Bible commanding us to “forgive one another” that support Mother Teresa’s claim about love and forgiveness. Ephesians 4:32 tells us to “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Another verse that supports this can be found in Matthew 6:14 which tells us “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.” These verses are telling us that as Christians if we are unwilling to forgive others, our personal relationship with God will be hindered. Forgiveness is a decision of personal will. It’s up to us to make the conscious choice to listen to God’s command and forgive. While inviting forgiveness into your heart doesn’t ensure that the person you’re forgiving will ever change, it doesn’t take away from God’s desire for us to practice forgiveness in our own lives by having a forgiving spirit.
There is a quote that says “When you can’t forgive someone, pray for them. It may or may not change them, but it will always change you.” This couldn’t be truer. Coming to a place of forgiveness can free you and when you can open your heart to this, you can change for the better and that person who hurt you can never take that away from you. If you’re looking to open your heart to forgiveness today, start with this prayer for strength to forgive others:
I pray for forgiveness and that You give me the strength to forgive others; I pray also that You forgive them for their stubbornness.
I humbly ask You for Strength to deal with the current situation I face, my future being so unsure makes my head and my heart ache and sometimes pride creeps in where Love should be. I pray that You soften the heart of others and make them realize how their actions affect our lives and that the people they listen to do not have their interest at heart. I pray that they return to the family and conquer their ignorance and pride.
I pray for a clear and vivid sign as to which direction I should take and to the decisions I make. I trust in You completely Almighty God and know that You will never steer me wrong.
Please give me the wisdom to appreciate Your signs and the understanding of the reasons behind the outcome. I will do what You deem best for me…and will continuously praise and thank You.
My works and deeds I shall do with Your Blessings and Grace and pray that you can see that my heart is sincere and my intentions are good.
This prayer calls on God to invite love into the hearts of the people that have hurt you, but also into our own hearts where it’s so easy for pride to kick in. Our pride inflates the ego and really works away at our ability to forgive. We can find strength through forgiveness. We can also learn about trust and the importance of being cautious when we open our hearts from those who have hurt us, betrayed us or broken our hearts. While it’s impossible to forget sins that have been committed against us, we can gain through triumphing over the acts that have been committed against us through love. Know that if you belong to God through faith in Christ, God does not condemn us for our sins but forgives us for our sins.
You can invite love into your heart through prayer. While the above prayer is a great starting place when you’re working on forgiving others, lift up your individual concerns and be open to letting love in, and hearing how God is trying to work in your life through your current situation. This will take time, so don’t feel defeated if you’re not there after lifting up this prayer. When you find yourself caught up in your head about what someone else as done to you, remember that forgiveness is something we all seek at some point in life and is essential for the life we live. Genesis 6 tell us that God grieved over all the wrongdoings done by man: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” (Genesis 6: 5-6) While God grieves when evil comes into our lives and into our hearts, God IS Love and offers us forgiveness, a gift we aren’t even worthy of as victims of sin. If you recognize that all of our trespasses ultimately hurt God, and you care about the impact your actions have on our Heavenly Father and on you as an individual, invite love into your heart through forgiveness. There is no trespass committed against us that is bigger than God.