A Prayer to Forgive and Love Like Jesus This Holy Tuesday
By Alicia Searl

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” - Matthew 18:21-22

Granting forgiveness can be complex and hard to give and receive, especially when it’s a repeated offense, and you’re left holding a broken heart filled with so much pain. Yet, in the upside-down gospel of Jesus Christ, that is exactly what we are called to do. Forgive, time and time again. It sounds so easy, right? Yet, as you most likely know, forgiveness comes with an acknowledgment that needs to be made from our heads to our hearts. That’s because forgiveness can be messy and intertwined with so many emotions.

When Peter approached Jesus with the question of how many times he should he forgive his brother, it was more than likely a sincere question. A question to determine the length of mercy. Maybe he was harboring pain from a past hurt or trying to decipher and grasp the unparallel meaning of the forgiveness Jesus taught in the sermon on the mount (Matthew 6:14-15). 

Either way, Jesus’ answer must have sent shockwaves to Peter’s soul. After all, the Jewish practice was to forgive someone three times for the same offense (Amos 2:6). So, upon hearing seventy-seven times, which could be construed to mean “70 times 7,” equating to 490, that must have sounded absolutely absurd! Peter’s heart must have sunk, thinking that type of forgiveness is impossible. Yet, that was exactly the point Jesus was driving home!

Jesus knows forgiveness isn’t easy and that it is impossible to do on our own. This is why He modeled throughout His life how to forgive and shared the importance of giving and receiving this gift. Jesus commands us to pray for our enemies and those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44-45), asking God to help us, all while going to Him again and again until we gain the peace that surpasses understanding. The most profound example Jesus gave us was on His final day, as Roman soldiers mocked, scourged, and nailed Him to the cross, Jesus prayed for God to forgive them (Luke 23:34).

Dear friend, the principle of forgiveness isn’t measured by our emotions or a number, but rather it is to be measured by the grace and mercy in which we receive from God, which is endless. Real forgiveness takes time and can only take place with God’s help, allowing Him to open our minds and soften our hearts.

Is there someone to whom you need to grant the gift of forgiveness this Holy Tuesday? Then lift your heart to Him today and seek His help.

Let’s pray:

Kind and gracious Father, how can we even begin to thank you for the wonders of Your love? The act of grace and mercy that You so selflessly displayed on the cross never ceases to amaze us. As we come into a holiday that marks both grief and hope with the solemn actions of Good Friday to the victory we can reclaim in Your resurrection, please posture our hearts to give grace through forgiveness. We ask that You help us be mindful this time of year of the Truth found in Your Word that Your love, mercy, and grace forgave us first. We are so very thankful for that. Help us receive that forgiveness You so graciously give and extend that to others as we yearn to follow Your loving example. Please soften our hearts to give and receive this precious gift of forgiveness. 

Lord, I ask that You please come into my heart and help me personally forgive the person who continually floods my mind. I need Your help. I need Your mercy and grace. I need You to remind me that You forgave me and so I must forgive them. Help me let go of the hurt, the pain, the betrayal, and the shame. Help me let it go and turn it all over to You. Please cleanse my heart and soul of any unrighteousness, bitterness, or resentment. I earnestly seek Your peace.
I humbly ask all this in Your precious name, Jesus, amen.

Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images/PlusBoonyachoat

Alicia SearlAlicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy.  Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at aliciasearl.com and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.