The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
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. “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
“See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you
Job 42:10 After Job had prayed for his friends (those who had hurt him), the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.
(Context: Job went through a season of great loss including relationally, financially and physically. His friends judged him and concluded that his sin was causing all of these things when God saw him as one who had honored God. Job’s response in prayer unlocked justice in his life)
(Pray out loud if you are in a place where you can do so, and remember, that today’s prayer is crafted using the scriptures above):
Father God, I want to start off 2023 free from any unforgiveness or bitterness burdening my heart. I do not want sins against me to produce sin in me. Please forgive me for any ways that I have not forgiven others the way that you have forgiven me. I realize that not forgiving a “debt” of another while receiving your forgiveness for my own “debts” is pride and I want to walk in humility and in the love you demonstrated through extravagant forgiveness. I recognize that you taught to love our enemies and pray for them, so I choose to begin this year, forgiving injustices against me and turn to you. Like Job, I choose to pray for and forgive my “enemies” and lean into you to receive your justice and redemption for any evil done against me. I pray that you would give me the same grace and empowerment to forgive others that you had on the cross. I invite you to reveal to me now anyone you know I need to forgive from my heart. Please reveal to me what I need to forgive and please heal me of the pain and loss that these injustices have caused.
Multiple prompts have been provided. Take your time and don’t feel pressure to complete all of them in one sitting. You can extend your journaling throughout the month if you don’t have time to complete responses to all prompts today.
**Remember, as you connect with God in prayer, it is two-way conversation with Him. He responds to our prayers, questions, worship, etc, with thoughts, promptings, sensings, creative ideas/strategies, etc. Record what He shares with you and follow His counsel.
Take time to write down anything God reveals to you after praying. Write down names and situations that God brings to mind. Be as specific as you can as you write down what needs to be forgiven including what the injustices against you caused in your life and the lives of those in your family, friends, etc.
After writing down anything God shows you, you are now ready to take these things to prayer. Sample prayers are below.
Part One of Forgiveness Prayer
Jesus, I repent for my judgments and un-forgiveness of __________________(e.g, my mother, my father, co-worker, sibling, etc). I have carried the burden of the pain they inflicted and my own un-forgiveness for too long. I ask you to take from me the pain associated with their sin so that I can forgive more deeply from my heart as you encourage me to do in Matthew 18:35
*Share your hurts here and Invite Jesus to take the pain associated with these hurts. As you pray, it is often helpful to picture yourself with Jesus and handing over the pain to Him…letting Him take it. Don’t rush this moment with Him. He truly wants to take the burden that pain and unforgiveness cause in our lives.*
Part Two of Forgiveness Prayer
I ask for Your grace to forgive ____________ right now. I am asking for the same grace you had, to say, “Father, forgive them” while the ones You were forgiving were crucifying You on the cross. I forgive ________________________ for ________________________________________________.
I realize that according to Your word, when I forgive, I am releasing the one who offended me from owing me anything, and; therefore, I am positioning myself to receive Your justice that far exceeds what any human can give me. I come boldly before Your throne of grace and ask for your justice. Justice for myself and justice for my enemies. I pray that you give them what they don’t deserve because You gave me what I don’t deserve. At this time, I invite you to come into my life and do the opposite of what the sins against me produced in my life. In the place of all the disappointment, fear, rejection, abuse and trauma, I ask you to release your love, joy, peace, wisdom, confidence, and grace. I thank you for also sending people to me who will model new, healthy patterns in my life and reinforce these patterns around me. I ask you to release blessings to me and through me as I walk out these new patterns. Amen.
Consider Restore to find more tools to live out forgiveness and find healing from wounds. Go to Gatewaychurch.com/heal for more information.