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Listening to Your Enemies
Unforgiveness is one of the main barriers to us hearing from God. Sometimes we harbor bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness towards others without ever being aware of it. Forgiveness is so important in the Kingdom of God that Jesus proclaims in Matthew 6:14-15 that our salvation is dependent on our practice of forgiving one another. It is detrimental as we pursue deepening our relationship with Christ that we regularly address the unforgiveness in our life. Forgiveness is not a one time event, it’s an everyday process (see Matthew 18:21-35).
Part 1: Being Forgiven by God
Invite the Holy Spirit to speak and allow you to hear his voice as you engage in listening prayer.
Ask the Holy Spirit:
Is there anything in my life for which I need to confess and experience transformation?
Is there anything in my life of which I haven’t fully received God’s forgiveness?
Spend time praying that you would know the forgiveness of God in your life. This is a space to invite the Spirit to heal and reveal the forgiveness that is yours in Jesus.
Sample prayer of receiving God’s forgiveness for your own sin:
God, in the name of Jesus, I confess that I believe that you will not provide for me and it is causing me to worry and stress about money, robbing me of joy and peace in my life, (visualize the cross and focus on giving that unbelief to Jesus on the cross. Remember that He is canceling or cutting off this wrong belief from you making it obedient to the cross, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5). In the name of Jesus, I receive your forgiveness. God, what else do you want me to know about this?
Part 2: Who Do I Need to Forgive?
Invite the Holy Spirit to reveal specific offenses, people, or circumstances in which forgiveness needs to take place. (Give time for you to listen and the Spirit to speak.)
It is important to record what you sense the Spirit speaking to you, so that you can take the time this week to process and pray through it. (Note: This is not necessarily a space to forgive, but a time to begin a conversation with the Spirit about how we enter into our spiritual responsibility to forgive in light of the forgiveness we’ve received from him.)
Sample prayer of forgiving others:
God, the name of Jesus, I release ________ in forgiveness for committing the sin of ________ against me. (Visualize the cross and focus on giving that person to Jesus on the cross, making it obedient to the cross – 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. Focus on their sin against you being cut away from you, the effects of it being canceled). In the name of Jesus, I ask that you would bless ________ and restore my heart, soul, mind and spirit regarding him/her.
After receiving and releasing forgiveness, take a moment to meditate, asking God what He desires to replace in that space in your heart where the unforgiveness had residence.
The Practice for this week is fairly simple. If you sense the Spirit reveals to you a person, offense, or circumstance in which he is inviting forgiveness, take time this week to explore that further. If you did not sense something from the Spirit at first, set aside time this week to ask him again who you need to forgive. Again, forgiveness is a process, not an event. Give yourself grace as you work through the pain you’ve experienced.