Soul-Care Articles: Christ-centered, Spirit-led, Biblically-based, Clinically-sound, Truth-oriented

SOURCE:  Scotty Smith/The Gospel Coalition

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Col. 3:13

Gracious Jesus, every time I pray the “Lord’s Prayer,” I’m confronted with the daily-ness, even the moment by moment call to forgive others.

Usually that’s not a big deal. Maybe it’s because I’m conflict avoidant and would rather wave off an offense than deal with the chaos and mess. But you’ve been forcing the issue over the past few weeks. There’s brokenness in me and all around me. Old wounds are tender again and fresh relational hurts are emerging.

My conflict-allergy is a thin veil for the serial killer that lives within. Even as I write and pray this prayer, names and faces come before me that I know I haven’t forgiven from my heart… or from anywhere else. I’ve enjoyed holding them emotionally hostage by my critical spirit and self-righteous smuggery… but in reality, I’m more a prisoner than they are. It’s been easier to rehearse their sins than repent of the hardness of my heart, and that’s never a good sign.

Help me, Jesus, and others like me. I want to want to be free.

Though I’m convicted, it’s not easy to walk away from the pain.

Self-protection looks a lot better, right now, than a vulnerable heart. What if the same thing happens again? What if I risk trusting but only end up with more chapters of the same story? Even as I pray, I realize how much I need the power of the gospel right now, in this very moment.

Have mercy on me, Jesus. Have mercy on me the sinner. By the grace and truth of the gospel, humble me and free me…

Jesus, I praise you for already forgiving all of my sins—past, present, and future; every sin of word, thought, and deed. And you have robed me—covered me with your perfect righteousness. I praise you for not merely waving off my sins but wading into the mess of my heart. You paid the supreme price for my salvation and transformation, with the currency of your life and death.

As I ponder the riches of your grace for me, of course I admit that my unforgiveness is the greatest non sequitur of all. It does not follow that I can lay claim to being forgiven and at the same time withhold mercy and grace from others. On no terms is this okay.

By faith, I surrender to you right now, but I will not vainly promise anything. You must help me, Jesus. I cannot and I will not do this on my own. Make my worldly sorrow godly sorrow. May your kindness drive me to obvious repentance and change, and soon.

So very Amen I pray, in your holy and loving name.

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