I want you to forgive others who have hurt you.
I want you to pray for people who harass and persecute you.
There came a point in my life as a disciple of Jesus where I began praying the Lord’s Prayer with my new-creation, born-again heart. I was deeply affected by this part of the prayer: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
This became real to me in my marriage with Linda.
We were dating, and had our first argument. We were upset with each other. During the argument I remember thinking, “This is over.” I was under the illusion that, in a love relationship, there will be no anger because we would be the perfect couple.
During the verbal fighting Jesus gave me a lesson I have never forgotten. It happened this way.
I thought of myself as a powerful arguer. I felt I was defeating Linda in this conflict. Then God said, “John, you are arguing powerfully, but you are wrong. You’re going to confess this to her.”
So, what did I do about this? I kept arguing, even though I knew I was wrong. Then God said, “John, not only must you now confess you are wrong. You must also ask her forgiveness for continuing to argue even though you knew you were wrong.”
At that point I stopped. I said, “Linda, I was wrong in this argument. And, when I saw this my error, I kept on arguing anyway. Would you forgive me?”
This was new spiritual territory for me. To my memory, I can only recall one other time when I asked someone for forgiveness. What would happen now?
Immediately, Linda said, “I forgive you.”
And the wall came down.
I began laughing at my foolishness. She laughed with me, not at me. I was experiencing the freedom of forgiveness. Since then, Linda and I have asked each other for forgiveness, multiple times. It will happen again.
I, an apprentice to the Lord Jesus, was in the School of Jesus. He was teaching me to be more like Him. What a beautiful gift!
I forgive those who have hurt me, from the heart.
I experience the beauty and freedom of God’s forgiveness!
I live a forgiving life.
I live a forgiven life.
I exercise the power of confession and forgiveness.
When in conflict I initiate confession and forgiveness.
I understand and celebrate the power of forgiveness in relationships!
(For more see my blog post “Forgiveness – Resources.” At johnpiippo.com.)
(From my book 31 Letters to the Church on Discipleship)