Continuing our discussion regarding The Lord's Prayer, let's look in Matthew 6:12, the next verse in this prayer - "And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors."

Forgiving others and ourselves has always been challenging for the Body of Christ. We usually have excellent reasons to hold on to our unforgiveness. However, complete forgiveness is the very relationship we enjoy and embrace from Christ. In addition, there also seems to be some significant physical healing that takes place for the one who forgives!

Forgiveness includes asking for and releasing forgiveness to God, others and ourselves. And when one apologizes forgiveness does not mean that everything goes back to normal as if nothing ever happened. God gives us the grace to forgive. I have found if I am having difficulty forgiving, I am in need of His wonderful grace to help me. However, sometimes because of the depth and variety of the abuse, restitution, safety and appropriate boundary setting need to take place before trust can be restored.

Here are a couple prayer examples that may help you get started when true/honest  forgiveness seems to be impossible.

"I release to You/Father my anger and disappointment resulting from knowing that my perception and understanding are limited by my own viewpoint of why You allowed a particular situation to occur. You have a greater purpose beyond my understanding, so please forgive me and help me to understand Your ways."

"I allow Holy Spirit to flow through the bitterness and disappointment in this situation and release Your 'river' of forgiveness to flow our and through me because the Spirit of Christ leads the way. I can release forgiveness because of the forgiveness You have released to me. Thank you for producing peace again within me and my other relationships."