Grace to Forgive
published in Our Daily Bread
It is difficult to understand how the Lord Jesus could pray for His brutal executioners to be forgiven (Luke 23:34). We often try to excuse our unforgiving hearts by arguing that He was God, whereas we are sinful creatures. But Jesus calls us to follow His divine example.
Putting into practice the Bible's directives isn't easy. For example, it's hard to pray sincerely for God to forgive our enemies and those who humiliate and belittle us. Yet God's Word is crystal-clear: "Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).
As we lift our eyes to the Lord in prayer, we can be Spirit-enabled to put into practice His most difficult directives. Think of someone toward whom you have harbored a bitter spirit. Ransack your memory if necessary. As you consider that your feelings for that person, pray: "Lord, flood my heart with compassion, and purge away my unforgiving spirit. Help me to 'live peaceably with all men'" (Romans 12:18).
If multitudes of Christians did that, what a transforming difference it would make in our marriages, our homes, and our churches. We could have a big influence on our hate-filled world. —Vernon GroundsWhen others we will not forgive,
God's blessings are denied;
We must forsake our stubbornness
And banish sinful pride. —Sper
Ground that is filled with roots of bitterness needs to be plowed by the grace of God.
Love your enemies, . . . and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. —Matthew 5:44