Because we’re sinners, vengeance is a natural inclination, so pray to God for the supernatural inclination to forgiveness. Mark Driscoll
We all have experienced unforgiveness towards someone. In Mark 11:25 Jesus instructs, “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
“But what if they don’t apologize” you might ask.
“What if they keep doing it?”
Forgiveness doesn’t mean you act like everything is fine. That’s denial. It doesn’t even mean you overlook the offense or bless the offense. But it does mean you give up the inclination to vengeance and pass the matter up to God’s court for trail.
Because we’re sinners, vengeance is a natural inclination, so pray to God for the supernatural inclination to forgiveness.
The key to forgiveness is realizing how much I have been forgiven. The long list of sin any one of which had not Jesus paid for them, would have disqualified me from salvation and a relationship with my Creator. When I pray as David did in Psalms 139:23 asking God to search my heart it exposes my unrepentant sin and softens my heart towards others.
I can pray that God will change my heart and the heart of those who have sinned against me. Essentially “praying the gospel” towards those who have hurt and offended me.
Praying for someone means you love them, so praying for those who have sinned against me is a legitimate way of obeying the Lord’s command to love our enemies.
When I pray for someone it begins the process of potential reconciliation if that is ever to occur. Forgiveness takes one person, reconciliation takes two. In forgiving I am doing my part and leaving the rest up to God and the other person. If I want to be in grace driven relationships I have to pray God will give me the patience and power to forgive.
Jesus was our example to follow. In Matthew 5:44 He commands, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
In Luke 23:34 on the cross, where those who hated Him hung Him to die, Jesus prayed “Father forgive them they know not what they do.”
The truth is, we are all born sinners and enemies of Jesus. But for those of us who seek to follow Him, it is because Jesus prayed for us and forgave us that we are saved and loved, As His children it is only right that we do the same for others in return.
Thanks to Mark Driscoll for his insight on forgiveness…