Devotion: Pray for the Power of Forgiveness in Your Life
“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”
— Isaiah 1:18
We’ve all experienced that moment of dreadful realization, the awareness that we have absolutely, undeniably, royally messed up.
What now? Will we yield to the powerful fight-or-flight response flooding our minds and bodies? (“I may be wrong, but you were, too!”) Or will we collapse inward, playing emotional possum until the perceived danger passes? (“Huh? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”)
I’m sorry to say I’ve done both. And I’m not just being passive-aggressive when I say I suspect you’ve done the same.
What about when we’re the ones who’ve been wronged? It almost feels like we’re hardwired with a desire for revenge and restitution. We want justice, and we want it now!
Resisting Christ’s still, small voice – the gentle invitation, “Come now, let’s settle this,” barely audible in the emotional whirlwind – never ends well. Let’s not go there.
Instead, stop. Listen to the One Who cherishes everyone involved in this situation. Yield to the Spirit and embrace the power of God’s forgiveness. Allow His restorative love to flow through you, whether you are asking for forgiveness or are the one offering it.
Hurt comes in all sizes, from accidental oversights to masterminded mayhem. In the worst of situations, it may take everything we have and more to request or accept forgiveness. God understands and, if we will allow Him, will help close the gap we seem unable to bridge ourselves.
During World War II, concentration camp survivor Corrie ten Boom suffered many atrocities, including the death of her beloved sister, Betsie. Years later, Corrie, by then a well-known author, came face to face at one of her public appearances with the Nazi SS guard who had tormented her and Betsie. Now a Christian, he offered his hand to Corrie, asking her to forgive his cruel deeds, as God had already done.
She froze. This man was directly responsible for her sister’s death. There was no way she could forgive him!
But it was time to settle this, and she yielded to the Spirit’s prompting. Tentatively reaching out to her enemy, Corrie felt the power of God’s forgiveness shoot through her. It flooded her entire being and she tearfully forgave him, accepting this brother in Christ with all her heart.*
Is there something that needs to be settled in your own life?
Related Scriptures: Romans 12:18, 2 Chronicles 7:14
- How does one live in peace with everyone?
- How has the forgiveness that Christ has offered you changed your attitude toward those who have wronged you?
- What “lands” (see 2 Chronicles 7:14) has the Lord restored in your life since you accepted His forgiveness?
Who is she? Where is she?
She is that woman who needs to know Christ. She is in your community.
- Take a moment with your group and pray about those things the Lord brought to your heart and mind! Pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal to you any unforgiveness in your heart.
- Ask God for the name of a woman who may be struggling with guilt or shame and longs for forgiveness. Consider sharing your story of forgiveness with her. The story should be about a time you had to ask for forgiveness or give it.
- Pray for Stonecroft staff and volunteers, asking God to help us be bold witnesses in sharing with those around us the forgiveness that Jesus Christ offers.
- Pray about what you can do during the season of Lent leading up to Easter to be a proclaimer of the Gospel.
- Take a step to share Jesus’ love and forgiveness with a friend this month. If you aren’t sure where to begin, visit stonecroft.org/evangelism-tools/ to find helpful resources!
- What ideas do you have to care for a woman in your life during Lent? How can you show the love of Jesus in a tangible way? Think of someone you can invite to church during the Easter season. Extend an invitation to an Easter celebration meal.
- Being hospitable is a great way to care for others. Invite a woman over for a meal, tea, or coffee. Ask her about her life and be a good listener to her and to the Holy Spirit. Ask how you can pray for her.
Add your own personal thoughts and prayers.
What steps will you take this month to say “yes” to Jesus? How will you share the Gospel?
We Pray. God Answers. We Go!
*Note: Paraphrased from Corrie ten Boom, with Jamie Buckingham, Tramp for the Lord. (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1975), and also found as audio files on the internet.