Step Three in Forgiving Others: Accept
Jesus taught us to pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).
In forgiving others, we acknowledge before God that we are experiencing the pain and hurt done to us. We admit that we are angry toward or resent the ones who wounded us.
We also stop blaming others and accept responsibility for our own attitude and behavior.
What happens when we play some sport, and we play poorly and lose? Or we work on some project with others, and we mess up? Does the whole world know about it (anger)? Or do we turn inward and bury our simmering, festering feelings (resentment)?
Some people avoid taking personal responsibility. “It’s the other person’s fault.” “If they had not done what they did, then I would not have reacted the way I did.” “If my mother or father had treated me differently, then I wouldn’t be facing the problems I’m facing today.”
We may feel a need to blame somebody, and perhaps some of the blame can be placed upon others. Yet when we forgive, we take responsibility for our part.
We face our own mistakes, our own faults, our own sins. “They hurt me. But I can choose how to respond. That person’s attitude and behavior are their responsibility. But my attitudes, my behaviors, and my reactions are my responsibility.”
The famous blind songwriter Fanny Crosby wrote more than 8,000 songs. When Fanny was only six weeks old, a minor eye inflammation developed. The doctor who treated the case was careless, though, and she became totally and permanently blind.
Fanny Crosby, however, maintained a forgiving spirit and harbored no anger or resentment against the doctor. In fact, she once said of him, “If I could meet him now, I would say thank you, thank you, over and over again for making me blind.”
She felt that her blindness was a gift from God to help her write the hymns that flowed from her pen.
To ask God to forgive us our debts means that we have accumulated debts that need forgiving. Let us be quick to forgive others, always remembering the great debt that God has forgiven us. And let us forgive others so that our own accumulated debt will be forgiven.
Action Step: Stop blaming others and accept responsibility for your own attitude and behavior.
~ Pastor Dave