How Often Do I Forgive?


A Prayer by Ken Gire

Lord,

How often do I forgive?

I’m asking not for an answer, only for an opportunity to come clean.

How often do I forgive?

“Search me, O God, and know my heart.”

How often do I forgive the gossiper in my life?

How often do I forgive the exaggerator? The out-and-out liar?

How often do I forgive the talker in my life? The interrupter?

The person who sits around like a bump on a log and says nothing?

How often do I forgive a boss who’s demeaning?

A coworker who’s competing for my job? …

“Try me and know my anxious thoughts.”

How long is my mental list of hurt feelings?

How far back does the account of “wrongs suffered” go?

“And see if there be any hurtful way in me.”

How many people do I mumble to myself about, mentally rehearsing the scene where I tell them off and expose them to the world?

How many times do I hear bad news about someone’s who’s hurt me, and I’m glad because, after all, they had it coming?

“And lead me in the everlasting way.”

Forgive me, O God, for all the times I haven’t forgiven. For all the times I’ve only partway forgiven, or grudgingly forgiven, or self-righteously forgiven. Lead me into a better way of living, which can only be found in a better way of forgiving. Help me to forgive others the way you have forgiven me.

Not for a moment but for a lifetime.

Not seven times … every time.

 

I admit there are times I like to hold on to hurt feelings, protecting them yet simultaneously wanting to boast of them as I would a bruise or cut as a child. “Look at the size of this wound! I am so brave. I put up with so much.”

The victim mindset is not only easy. It’s comfortable. It’s natural. It lifts me higher in my own estimation even while placing the blame of my hurt on the perpetrator. It excuses me of the need to forgive.

But it also consumes my heart from the inside out, and slowly puts my spirit to death by bitterness. At some point, by God’s grace, I understand that to stay alive, I must forgive. .. And if I am true to my heart and spirit and God, I will continue to forgive.

I will recognize the truth and power, the freedom, in the words of wisdom on forgiveness. When Jesus spoke of the vital necessity of forgiving. Not once. Or a few times. But 490. And if I’m still counting at 491, it means I’ve never truly forgiven.

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