S.O.A.P. – “Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer”
“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!
Pray like this: “Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” Matthew 6:7–18 NLT
What’s the difference between God’s forgiveness of someone and my forgiveness of that same person?
Is there anyone you refuse to forgive? Is it possible you are confused on the critical differences between forgiveness (canceling the debt someone has towards you), right judgment (judging something as right or wrong), trust (allowing someone to handle precious things after they have broken them) or reconciliation (repairing a relationship so there can be a future)? Forgiveness is for your healing spiritual protection and does not require you to cancel your judgment, trust untrustworthy people (whom Jesus called “pigs”), or reconcile. To obey God and forgive (to cancel someone’s debt to you) does not erase their guilt before God or obligate you to trust or have a relationship with them in the future. It keeps you free of bitterness so you can clearly focus on YOUR need for God’s forgiveness in your own life.
Lord, help my heart be pure. Help me forgive others from my heart so I can receive your forgiveness. Help the hurt I feel and fear fade as I focus on your forgiveness.