“Forgive us for our sins, just as we have forgiven those who sinned against us.” — Matthew 6:12 (NCV)
You will not get very far in life unless you settle the relational issues that you’ve been holding on to. That’s the focus of the fourth step in a quiet time – the prayer of forgiveness. The prayer of forgiveness says, “Forgive us our sins as we also forgive those who have sinned against us.”
We live in a broken world and none of us are perfect. In fact, we’re all selfish. I think more about me than I think about you. You think more about you than you think about me. And so we hurt each other, sometimes unintentionally and sometimes on purpose.
When I hurt you, that causes guilt. When you hurt me, I feel resentment. Those two things can be resolved with forgiveness. The prayer of forgiveness is the only way to get rid of the emotional garbage of guilt and resentment.
You will never reach the goals you set in your life if you’re carrying the extra baggage of guilt and resentment. They slow you down. God doesn’t want that for you. He wants you to ask for forgiveness when you hurt others and offer forgiveness to those who have hurt you so you can be freed to move forward.
Now let’s say you let go of the guilt, but hold on to the resentment; you accept God’s forgiveness but you don’t forgive anybody else. You’ll still move forward at half the speed because you’re carrying the baggage of resentment.
On the other hand, let’s say you let go of the resentment and forgive other people but you don’t forgive yourself. Then you’ll still be carrying the baggage of guilt that will keep you from reaching your goals. You have to let both of them go.
How do you do that? Every day you need to give your guilt and resentment to God because new hurts come up every day. Then receive God’s forgiveness and release the resentment you’re holding against those who have hurt you. As James 3:18 says, “Those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness” (NLT).
Every day you are either planting seeds of conflict with the people in your life or seeds of peace. When you plant seeds of peace you reap a harvest of goodness, which means you will reach your goals because God is going to bless your life.
by Rick Warren