A Prayer to Forgive When You Cannot Forget - Your Daily Prayer - May 6

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A Prayer to Forgive When You Cannot Forget
By Kristine Brown

“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” - Matthew 26:28 NIV

Flipping through a dusty old photo album, I came across a picture that caused an unwanted memory to resurface. The memory was something I had always hoped and prayed I could forget, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t block it from popping back into my thoughts. I tried to push it aside, distract myself, and focus on other things. But the memory lingered, and soon I began questioning whether I’d ever really forgiven the person pictured in that photo.

The idea of forgiveness is something we are introduced to early in our relationship with Jesus. We discover how God offers forgiveness for our sins through the shed blood of his only son, Jesus Christ, on the cross. We also learn through Jesus’ sacrifice that because God forgives us, we can, in turn, forgive others. In teaching his disciples how to pray, Jesus himself said, “And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” (Matthew 6:12 NLT)

Still, it’s hard to know what to do when memories of past offenses come flooding back without warning. Thoughts of things we want to forget can catch us off guard, and before we realize it, we’re rehearsing what happened and thinking about every detail of the hurt. Those thoughts about our painful experiences can lead to unforgiveness unless we prepare ourselves with wisdom from God’s Word on how to respond. So, what do we do when our inability to forget causes us to question if we’ve really forgiven? 

We remind ourselves of who God is and what his holy Word says.

Matthew chapter 28 reveals a sinister plot to betray Jesus, involving one of Jesus’ close companions— a man named Judas. Judas made a deal with the chief priests to look for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them. Soon after the deal was made, Jesus and his disciples sat down to a meal to celebrate Passover. During that meal, Jesus spoke these words, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” (Matthew 26:21)

Just a few verses later, we see an incredible demonstration of Jesus’ love and mercy. He offered his cup in what would become known to us as holy communion, and Jesus said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)

Poured out for many. Not one of us deserves forgiveness, but I can’t help but see a connection between Judas’ actions and Jesus’ teaching about forgiveness he shared around that table. 

Jesus willingly endured the pouring out of his own blood for many to be forgiven—pouring out for Judas, pouring out for me and you, pouring out for anyone who ever caused us pain and suffering.  

We have within us the ability to forgive others because God forgave us. Focusing on God’s forgiveness makes the process of forgiving much easier. A wise friend told me recently that when memories of past hurts come to mind, she uses that as a reminder to take it to God in prayer, and also as a reminder for herself that she has forgiven. Even if she can’t forget, reminding herself that she has forgiven the person allows her to move forward in freedom. May Jesus’ words in Matthew inspire us today as we continue growing in mercy and forgiveness. Even when we can’t forget, we can still forgive.

Let’s pray.
Dear God,
Thank you for sending your son Jesus to earth and offering forgiveness through his shed blood on the cross. We don’t deserve your forgiveness, but through Jesus’ sacrifice, we have the incredible gift of unconditional love and unending mercy. Thank you for forgiving our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Father, I ask you to protect my mind from the memories of past hurts. When those memories come back, help me understand the difference between forgetting and forgiving. I may not be able to fully forget what happened, but I can use those memories as a reminder of the power of forgiveness. Because you forgave me, I am able to forgive others. Even when I can’t forget about the offense, I can live in freedom today and in the future by choosing forgiveness. I forgive the person for the pain they caused. Thank you, God, for making forgiveness possible. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Cecilie_Arcurs

For more spiritual growth resources, check out the 5-day email devotional, How to Be Free from Bitterness, by today’s devotion writer, Kristine Brown. Learn more about women in the Bible and find encouragement to help you “become more than yourself through God’s Word” at Kristine’s website, morethanyourself.com.

Teach Us to Pray is a FREE prayer podcast hosted by iBelieve writer Christina Patterson. Each week, she gives you practical, real-life tips on how to grow your faith and relationship with God through the power of prayer. To listen to her episode on What to Pray in the Morning for a Worry-Free Day, click below!

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