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By Bonnie Marsh

The Prayer of Confession on Sunday, March 12 began with, “Holy God, we know that we come to you with so many prayers, so often asking for ourselves what we fail to give to others.”

What are the things we pray for in our personal lives? Freedom for financial worries, solutions to relationship troubles and healing come to mind. But every week, and most often, we pray for forgiveness. We want to be forgiven for our thoughts and actions that are less than perfect and for the way we may have treated or talked to loved ones, friends, or even people we don’t know well. We want God to forgive us of our shortcomings. Yet do we offer forgiveness to others? Do we forgive others as we would want to be forgiven? That is challenging. It is easy to feel slighted and hold grudges.

And what does it mean to forgive? Forgiveness means to intentionally let go of resentment and anger. That is a big step. And Jesus taught us to take that a step further. Luke 6:35 - “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. “

Do good to our enemies! That is not easy, and can even seem impossible, but what God tells us to do is for our own good. We can and should be obedient and trust that God will change our hearts and lives in the process of forgiveness.

Forgiveness releases the stronghold grudges and resentment place on our well-being. Forgiveness nurtures the joy we can otherwise have in life by obeying God.

Loving God, help us to offer the forgiveness to others that, just as we ask you to forgive us.


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