Forgiveness is a condition in which the sin of the past is not altered or its inevitable consequences changed. Rather, in forgiveness a fresh act is added to those of the past, which restores the broken relationship and opens the way for the one who forgives and the one who is forgiven to meet and communicate deeply with each other in the present and future. Thus, forgiveness heals the past, though the scars remain and the consequences go on. These keep the sinner humble. But now the past can no longer throttle. It is taken into the fresh act of outgoing renewal, and there it is healed.
—Douglas V. Steere, in Forgiveness: Perspectives on Making Peace with Your Past, compiled and introduced by Amy Lyles Wilson (Fresh Air Books, 2008)
When has a fresh act of forgiveness healed something from your past? Join the conversation.
Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.”
—Matthew 18:21-22 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
(This week’s prayer can be found in Matthew 6:9-13, NIV.)
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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