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Steps Toward Forgiveness

Today’s Reflection

FORGIVENESS STARTS with refusing to rehearse the hurt continually. …

One way to stop rehashing an offense is to substitute prayer for negative thoughts. Such prayer embodies ancient Christian wisdom about how our inner world gets distorted and about how to straighten it out. We find these brief prayers in many places: favorite hymns, biblical passages, treasured saying, or names for God. They can be very simple: “God, help me.” “God, fill me with your love.” “Spirit of Jesus, free me.”

If no prayers of your own occur to you, try breathing in and out as you speak these phrases from the Psalms:

“Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love.” (Psalm 51:1)

“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present helpp in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

Prayers like these turn our attention away from the hurt and the offending family member. They bring about inner stillness, replacing negative thinking with hopeful words of faith. They draw us toward God’s perspective and remind us that we need God’s help to stop clinging to injuries.

– Kathleen Fischer
Forgiving Your Family

From pages 57-58 of Forgiving Your Family: A Journey to Healing by Kathleen Fischer. Copyright © 2005 by Kathleen Fischer. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Which short prayer above speaks to you? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”
John 21:17, NRSV

This Week: pray those who have no home. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

Did You Know?

Need a Spiritual Retreat? Join us at SOULfeast, the Upper Room’s spiritual retreat at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, July 14-18, 2013. Come discover how, as the Holy Spirit washes over us, this powerful presence brings us alive to God, community, transformation, and missions in the here and now. For more information, visit soulfeast.upperroom.org.

Saints, Inc.:

This week we remember
Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
(April 9).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2013, a ministry of GBOD | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA


{ 4 comments… add one }

  • robert moeller April 14, 2013, 3:53 am

    “Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and put a new and right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
    This psalm speaks to me.

    Lord, today I do something to help those without a home. Thank you Lord for your wisdom and guidance.

    Thank you that Anneliese is recovering from her knee replacement surgery. This has been very painful but she is regaining the use of her knee.

    Thank you for Jenny and Erich, both are doing well. Jenny with her work and Willa, Erich with his studies. I’m thankful for such great blessings.

    I pray for Mom whom I haven’t seen since Monday, tomorrow I’ll be there.

  • Jill April 14, 2013, 4:56 am

    Me too, Robert. A verse I claim – Psalm 51:10. I adjust it a little – “Create in me a clean heart – the heart that You desire. Give me a spirit that consistently desires to glorify only You.”

    I tried and tried the “I will stop thinking about this” routine. But, until I replaced the negative thought with a positive thought – I found myself marinating in the past hurt and negative thoughts. A re-direction is needed, and what is better than God’s Word?

    Hope all have a blessed day of worship.

  • Betsy April 14, 2013, 7:49 am

    “Create in me a clean heart, O God” fromt Psalm 51. I still need redirection when those negative thoughts/words creep in. A clean heart is the image that wipes away those things.

    I ask for prayers for a friend of my husbands who is facing pain pill addiction. He has entered a Christian rehab facility for a second time. He has a wife and young children who depend on him and love him. Give him strength, Lord, to rise above this cruel hold on him. Amen

  • Peggy April 14, 2013, 10:48 pm

    “Peace be with you.”

    I envision the person I am distressed about or someone I am praying for. As I breathe in, I pray and receive “peace.” As I exhale, I release the frustration or concern, and pray “be with you.” I find it impossible to stay mad or worried when I do this simple prayer practice.

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