Do you practice the lifestyle of forgiving?
Our Verse of the Week
And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.Matthew 6:12
The Lord’s Prayer is the only time Jesus demonstrates for us how to pray, and this line is the only part that includes a behavior for us.
The prayer is filled with worship and petition: “you are holy,” “bless us,” “deliver us.” And then we have this one line: “forgive us as we also forgive.” If this is the only behavior on our part that Jesus included in his example of prayer, it must be pretty important.
In fact, it goes hand-in-hand with the great commandment:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. –JesusMark 12:30-31
We are forgiven through the power of Jesus’ sacrifice; the Lord has no anger or resentment keeping us out of relationship. There is nothing in our way to keep us from loving him completely.
And we must then forgive in order to love our neighbor as ourselves. We cannot fully love without forgiveness.
In my experience, there are two types of forgiveness that I need to practice in order to love others.
- Big forgiveness: This comes from a deep hurt. One that warrants revenge and vindication. But that’s for the Lord to judge and carry out. Our part is to choose forgiveness. Some people are blessed with the gift of being able to forgive, even the big offenses, quickly and completely. But I’d argue most of us need practice. Making the decision to forgive is the first step and the start of healing. Choosing daily to live in that decision can take years of practice, but allows us to wholly become the people God wants us to be.
- Small mercies: This is the daily lifestyle of forgiving and loving others. One of the easiest ways to foster a merciful heart is to not be easily offended. If you’re comfortable in who you are as a child of God’s, then small offenses can roll off easier. But sometimes annoyances break through. For more on dealing with life’s irritations, check out the article Irritated? 5 Steps to Deal with Annoying People.
Below is a look at my dialogue with the Holy Spirit while meditating on this passage. I meditate on the same verse every day for at least a week, and this is just a model to get you started. Meditating on scripture is a very personal journey and relationship with God, but you may find my Meditation Guide helpful. Subscribe now to my Newsletter and get immediate access to a Free Printable Library that includes meditation guidelines, a Meditation Journal Page, Scripture Writing pages, and bookmarks for this verse.
And forgive us: Lord, you forgive completely. Thank you for loving me so much that you want me forgiven. That you want me to be pure and in your presence. I ask again, forgive me.
our debts: Father, there are things I chose to pick up again yesterday that I know do not please you; I acknowledge them and ask for forgiveness. Spirit, I also ask you to search me and show me the sin I may not be aware of that displeases the Father so that I may turn from those ways.
as we also: I must also act. How can I ask for forgiveness when I hold a grudge? How can I expect mercy when I hesitate to extend mercy? Lord, I want to be like you; I want to be transformed by you. I must “also” forgive as you do.
have forgiven our debtors: Lord, I lift up the people I need to forgive. I choose forgiveness over hurt, anger, resentment, and vindication. I choose love for them. Help me with this process. Give me strength, healing, and wisdom. Show me how to forgive and move forward.
Suggested Breath Prayers
For more info on Breath Prayers, visit the article You’re Just a Breath Away From God.
I am forgiven
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