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11/6/13

Living the Lord's Prayer: Forgiving and Being Forgiven


You know the passage. “And forgive us our debts; for we also forgive everyone that is indebted to us.”

This is part two of And God Remembered Noah. Last month I reviewed a conference in which Linda Crawford was the main speaker (our own Anchor Publisher). It was an excellent combination of entertainment and friends and worship and singing and fun. And catharsis.

Linda’s asked us to call to mind a particular person where forgiveness was needed and to address this issue through completing a pre-printed fill-in-the-blank letter - not to send to the individual; but to lay at the foot of the cross.

Some things present a real conundrum. We think we have forgiven someone “indebted to us” yet continue to have hard feelings toward the offender. Or to hold ill will?

And what’s more, even though we want to believe that we know that God has forgiven us for whatever we did or did not do, we retain an ongoing guilty feeling of being unforgiven.

Fact is a fact regardless if we believe it or not. The fact is that God, in his nature of pure love, forgives us whether we ask him to or not. In his forgiving nature he woos us to himself for healing.

Feelings, on the other hand, can be factual but more often than not our feelings are fleeting and fickle and just plain false. Forgiving and being forgiven are deep-rooted issues.

There are matters I have acknowledged and chosen to forgive and have found complete freedom and peace. There are other areas where – even though the prayer and the choice were made - the layering of hurt goes all the way to the core. The wound still lingers. And I often do not even know it.

One of the phrases in Linda’s fill-in-the-blank letter hit a sore spot. "I only wanted to hear you say..."

That thought remained with me days later.

Since I think and pray best at a keyboard, I sat down at my computer and began to name those people who had hurt me. I realized that what I had wanted to hear – but didn’t - was what was keeping the puss pocket in my wounded spirit.

I wanted to hear you say you were proud of me.

I wanted to hear you say you understood.

I wanted you to acknowledge that you remembered what you did.

God is intimately involved in our individual story. As we prayerfully reenter into the haunting event, he comes alongside to do a job on you. What job; the job of transforming us through forming his mind within us (Phil. 2:5).

He heals our wounded childish psychic by silently whispering, “I AM proud of you.”

He restores our remorseful heart by fully and completely understanding our point of view and motive whether we were right or wrong, good or bad.

He mends disconnect by affirming, “I remember what happened to you and I love you regardless.”

Every cell in our body knows truth and longs for it. It is okay to have your needs met. If not met earlier, then now is the perfect time.

What are some things you have needed to hear?
I’m so glad you were born.
I am so happy you are a girl.
I am so happy you are a boy.
You are perfect just the way you are.
Don’t try so hard. You'll get it.
It’s okay to have a down day.
You’re doing a good job.
It hurts when you are overlooked, doesn’t it.

I cannot explain how God talks to us inside our head, but somehow we sense his presence and he presents possible solutions and there is clarity of thought and struggles calm down and peace reigns.

Maybe he speaks to us through his inaudible love language of forgiveness.