Scriptures to Pray When You Know You Should Forgive But Can’t
I’m a people pleaser. Most people seem to like me, but if I’m honest, some of that is because I try really hard to get them to like me. It can be obsessive, but it usually works.
There have been times it hasn’t worked, though. Like a church I was a part of where no matter what I did people got upset with me, especially leadership. I ended up leaving feeling like everything about me was wrong to the core of my being.
It was hard to forgive because I left feeling so small and a lot of the time I believed that I was. Plus, it was hard to even pinpoint what was true or not about what was said. Sometimes things weren’t even said, it was just an overall feeling of failure to the point that I didn’t want to risk even talking anymore.
Have you ever been in a situation like this? It can be so devastating. My faith took a real nosedive.
Looking back, I see that the brokenness in me was perfectly matched up with the brokenness in them so that we just broke each other even more. Situations like this can be a time of growth or a time of destruction. I’m afraid it was destruction for me, until I finally forgave and found a deeper faith than before.
I don’t like to think about having enemies, so I just don’t really think about it. But, that’s a mistake. God’s word says that our battle is not flesh and blood but against dark spiritual forces of evil (Eph 6:12). There is an Enemy, and I ignore him. I definitely ignored his presence in my previous situation.
Now, I don’t want to start looking for the Devil and suddenly finding him under every rock and around every corner, but I’m being dumb to ignore him altogether.
Priscilla Shirer’s book Fervent really set me straight on this:
Whenever the conversation of demonic activity comes up in a book like this, most people scatter to one of two extremes. Either they overestimate Satan’s influence and power, living with an inflated, erroneous perspective of his abilities. Or they underestimate him. They don’t assign him any credit at all for the difficulties he’s stirring up beneath the surface of their lives. One extreme leaves you saddled with undue fear and anxiety; the other just makes you stupid—(too blunt to say it like that? sorry)—unaware and completely open to every single attack.”
Fervent is all about praying intentionally so that we are fighting in prayer, not against each other. We are praying to hear truth, not believe lies. We are praying to stay close to God, not drift aimlessly like I did.
This book makes me weep most times I pick it up. I am so convicted of things I have held onto, unforgiveness, bitterness, hurts, indulgences, fear, but there is freedom in confession and repentance–so much more freedom than I understood.
I held on to anger because I wanted answers as to why it had happened. God didn’t share. That made me mad at Him too.
But, I was wrong. I knew even when I was holding on to anger, but it took realizing how when someone sinned against me, my holding on was giving the Devil a foothold in my own life (Eph 4:26-27). Foolish. I knew the truth, but I wanted to hold on so tight and make sure the wrong wasn’t just brushed under the rug. Yeah, well it wasn’t. It was definitely still alive and well holding onto my heart with all its strength and cutting me over and over, not affecting those I was angry at.
I don’t see the enemy under every rock, but I do make an effort now to see when he has, with very little effort, sidelined me. So, keep pressing towards forgiveness. It took me years and I probably still have layers to go, but I can tell you that diving into grace has been freeing so far.
Scripture can really help when striving to forgive, but can I confess something? Sometimes getting into God’s Word seems boring, old hat, been there, done that. As I’m getting into the Word more lately, I’m challenging myself to see what’s really there and what I’ve put there on my own. I’m trying to apply what’s there to my life instead of just reading and moving on, and I’m trying to unapply what’s not really there but what we all do because it’s normal Christian culture here. Don’t lose the power of Scripture because you think you know what it means.
Here are some scriptures that I prayed that have helped set me free:
- Matt 6:14-15
- Matt 18:21
- Mark 11:25
- Luke 11:4
- Luke 23:34
- Rom 12:19-21
- Eph 4:26-27
- Col 3:12-13
- Heb 12:14-15
Scripture is pretty clear. We have to forgive. Like a lot of things that Scripture is clear about, it may not be easy, but we don’t get a choice. So, let’s do this together, ok? I’ll be praying for you.
Note: Forgiveness doesn’t mean you won’t need to set boundaries with some people. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you might not need to seek counseling to get help with some wounds. Forgiveness does not always mean even telling the person we have forgiven that we did it, especially if they have not sought out forgiveness and reconciliation. Forgiveness does mean letting the hatred go because we are only hurting ourselves when we hold onto it: “In fact, not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die” (Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith).