A Prayer to Forgive When the Other Person Is Not Sorry - Your Daily Prayer - July 17

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A Prayer to Forgive When the Other Person Is Not Sorry
By Chris Eyte

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." - Luke 15:20

Most of us are familiar with the story of the prodigal son: how the son rebels, goes to a foreign country, and squanders his father’s money. Then he returns and asks for forgiveness, and he is readily accepted again by his dad. We are told what the son did in the foreign country with the wild parties and easy living. But we are not given so much detail by Jesus about the father during that horrible time when his child rebels. And that’s for a simple reason: he is waiting. The father is at his home, biding his time, watching for his son. His eyes search the horizon, hopefully, day after day. He knows that, at that time, the son is not sorry. But the father trusts that his boy will return to him. The situation hurts terribly, but he chooses faith, not despair. And then one day, after a long time, the young man does come home again.

It is a helpful illustration for those of us who want a loved one to turn around and walk in the right direction again. It’s not a quick process and can take years and years, waiting for the other person to come to their senses. Sometimes, they don’t, and the problem proceeds to eternity and judgment by the Living God. Even then, we are compelled to forgive by the love of Christ—to leave it with the Lord. It is hard to bear the scars of forgiving someone who isn’t interested in being forgiven. If they are still alive, there is some hope of repentance. By God’s strength, we can be empowered with the gift of patience for a turnaround. Day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year - no matter how long it takes. We must follow the example of the heavenly father and wait patiently. We get on with our daily lives, but our eyes are aware of the horizon, just as the dad with the prodigal son.

And who knows? Let’s have faith that one day, our patience will be rewarded. And that other person who has offended so deeply will return home. Meanwhile, we have a responsibility to cleanse our hearts in the Holy Spirit. To say (many times if necessary) “by God’s strength, I forgive”. At all times, we look to the example of the Messiah: “... despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.” (Isaiah 53:3).

Rev. Anthony Thompson chose to forgive the racist killer of his wife, Myra. She was leading a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, on June 17, 2015, when one of the attendees, Dylann Roof, fired 77 bullets, killing Myra and eight other followers of Christ. At a later court hearing, Rev. Thompson was challenged by God to forgive the unrepentant neo-Nazi. He looked at the young man and said, “Son, I forgive you. My family forgives you.” Where did the church minister find such courageous strength to forgive this murderer, not sorry for his heinous crime? Rev. Thompson told Premier Christianity:

“Forgiveness is a choice, and when we choose to forgive, we allow God to do the judging. We’re asking him to take over, because the Bible says do not take revenge. Biblical forgiveness is followed by prayer for the offender. It’s not about a feeling. In my case, it was divine intervention. It takes God to help you to forgive, even if you want to – you can’t do it on your own.” 

We should never forget that God not only sees the pain but is personally familiar with it. He knows more than anyone the suffering involved in offering forgiveness to those who aren't sorry. Nobody has more experience in offering a pardon to wrongdoers than the Lord. No one is more justified to judge than the Father—but he offers forgiveness. And so must we follow.

God-is-love is our strength in these difficulties: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

It is challenging indeed to forgive when the other person is not sorry, but Jesus Christ calls us to always persevere. Let’s remember that nothing is impossible through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, our wise counselor. The story of Rev. Anthony Thompson really shows that. Let’s hope and not give up on the situation!

Let’s pray:

Father God,
This hurts, but you understand. I pray for them, in your strength I forgive them and I trust you that all things are possible. Convict them of truth, for you are truth. Bless them this day and help them to turn to you in this situation. Cleanse my own heart that I may represent you and be a channel of your love. I confess my own self to you and thank you that you took all my sins onto yourself on the cross. The sin, not in part but as a whole, was taken upon you, Jesus. I pray that this situation will turn around and there will be a blessing in this relationship. I look to the horizon for them to return, and I put my trust in you.
In your holy name. Amen!

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Kieferpix

Christopher Eyte lives with his wife Céline and three children in Swansea, Wales, UK. He has worked as a journalist for many years and writes his own blog (hislovefrees.life) encouraging others in their walk with Jesus. He became a Christian in February 2002, after a friend explained God's amazing grace!

Related Resource: Remember God's Enduring Love for You in this Guided Meditation on Psalm 100!

This guided Christian meditation from Psalm 100 will help you experience and praise God for his unending love for you. Become aware of God’s presence with you, and praise God for his loyal and enduring love from the beginning of time and into the future. Listen to every episode of the So Much More Podcast on LifeAudio.com, or subscribe on Apple or Spotify so you never miss an episode!

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