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Promises

Forgiven #5—Prayerful Forgiveness

If you forgive people for stepping out of line against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, your heavenly Father will not forgive your stepping out of line against him. Matthew 6:14–15

Jesus elaborates on only one petition in the prayer he taught his disciples. He wants us to understand clearly how important it is for us to be forgiving if we want God to forgive us. We begin the prayer by asking God to work so that his reputation is valued more than any other being’s, by ourselves and everyone else. One reason God’s reputation is so valuable is that he can be trusted to dispense justice for all of the injustices that are done in the world. When we hold a grudge, we doubt whether the Judge of all the earth will do right. When we hold a grudge, we take on his responsibility to right all of the wrongs in the universe. Whether our friends or our enemies do us wrong, Jesus’ promise takes away the burden of pretending we are God. For every sin against us is even more a sin against the Father. What a relief! So if we truly desire to value God’s reputation instead of our own, then we can forgive, trusting him to heal our hurts while he stands against those who wrong us. As we place our vindication in his hands, we affirm our dependence on him to do everything necessary for our good, including forgiving us.

Father, I gladly release my enemies from their debt of honor to me. For I trust you to see justice done both for me and for you. Thank you for this promise that sets me free from being the judge. Amen.

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