Forgiving and being Freed

I knew a guy once who told me that when he prayed the Lord’s Prayer he would pray, “Forgive me as I should forgive others.”  I told him I did not think he was allowed to change the Lord’s Prayer.  I also do not think God would answer that prayer.

This morning while reading 2 Timothy, verse 4:16 stood out to me: “No one took my side at my first court hearing. Everyone deserted me. I hope that God doesn’t hold it against them!”  Another translation says, “May it not be charged against them.”  Paul was writing to Timothy after being abandoned by nearly everyone.  And Paul was forgiving them. 

I think we forget why God desires that we forgive.  Sometimes we act as if it is a punishment to forgive.  He wants us to forgive, not necessarily for the benefit of the unrepentant offender, but because when we forgive we free ourselves from the chains that bind unforgiving hearts.  You know people who hold grudges.  Are they not the most miserable people you know?  He commands that we forgive to give us peace.  You are not doing the person you forgive a favor as much as you are blessing yourself.  When we forgive, the person that is freed is ourselves.  You know this.  I know this. 

Oh Great God, Help me.  I want a clean heart.  I love the freedom of forgiveness.  Help me understand that freedom comes both when You forgive me and when I forgive others.  Help me.  Forgive me and allow me to feel Your peace as You make me able to forgive.  Thank You Lord Jesus, in Your powerful Name I pray.  Amen.

(As always when I speak of forgiveness, forgiveness does not mean we allow ourselves to be abused again and again.  A few verses earlier in verses 14 & 15 Paul is warning Timothy to watch out for Alexander the coppersmith who did great harm to Paul.  We are watchful, but not hard hearted toward them.)












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