By Carey Nieuwhof, Founding Pastor
Ever have a hard time forgiving someone? Especially someone who has hurt you … deliberately?
It's hard to imagine how Jesus must have felt the final week of his life.
He had come to offer God's forgiveness and grace to each of us, but the very people to whom he extended that grace and forgiveness deserted him, turned on him and eventually tortured and crucified him. love and forgive people
Yet, as we see in Luke 23, as Jesus' enemies drove the nails into his wrists and feet, he prayed “Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing.”
Can you imagine?
How did Jesus come to that place where he could forgive the people who were driving spikes into his wrists and feet?
I think the answer had to be Jesus' deep and daily prayers that grounded him in God's love. love and forgive people
If you want to read a prayer Jesus actually prayed hours before his death, we have a copy. Read this. In it, you'll see how closely years of prayer aligned his heart with God's heart, his plans with God's plans, and his will with God's will.
I have a long way to go in learning how to forgive, but I do know that prayer and forgiveness are linked.
It is almost impossible to stay angry with someone you pray for.
So if you're having trouble loving and forgiving the people who hurt you, pray for them. In the same way Jesus prayed for you.
Prayer: Lord, it's amazing to see how deeply you love. Forgive me for the shallowness of my love and for the superficiality of the forgiveness I extend to others. As we reconcile, may I reconcile with others, deeply. May your love extend into the lives of everyone I know and meet. Thank you for your exceptional forgiveness. In Jesus' name, Amen.
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