I am trying to help a friend answer this question. Someone shot my friend in the head and tried to kill her. As a result, she has lifelong injuries but the person who tried to kill her has served his sentence and is now free to pursue his life. We are struggling to understand Matthew 6:9-13 in which Jesus says that God will grant forgiveness in proportion to our forgiveness of others. Is this scripture saying that my friend's sins will not be forgiven until such time that she forgives the unrepentant person who tried to kill her?
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...It's not even possible for your friend to forgive the shooter--from the standpoint of human nature. She will have to seek the Lord in prayer, and ask for the strength, character and capacity to forgive. Anything short of that becomes just going through the motions--mouthing the words. When you seek this ability--and God will grant it--the rewards are far greater than just this incident, as horrific as it is. It carries on in your life for everything else you experience. It increases tolerance for human foibles; understanding of external problems and pressures. It is a necessary process in a person's sanctification. Thankfully, few of us have to endure being shot. But all of us go through things like being snubbed, dissed, cheated, lied to, betrayed... All negative life experiences call for the Christian to receive God's gift of being able to forgive. God Bless! I will pray for this unknown woman... That her spirit will be lifted in harmony with our magnificent God.
Firstly, it is vital to remember that forgiveness does not mean that you condone the actions against you (or in this case your friend). Forgiveness means that you understand that we are all imperfect humans living in an imperfect world. Forgiveness is not an easy task, especially when the crime or sin is so great. It can be hard to say you forgive someone, especially when they don't show remorse. Luke 23:34 shows the ultimate act of forgiveness with Jesus asking His Father to forgive those who crucify him as He was on the cross.
You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. This includes forgiving people who hurt you, whether it's emotional, physical, etc. I'm not saying this is easy! It's NOT easy to forgive people who hurt you. I'm saying that you have the capacity through the strength of Jesus Christ who lives in you to do this. Go to GOd in prayer. Tell Him exactly how you feel and that you don't want to forgive this person. But you know that forgiving them is what God demands from us in order to be forgiven ourselves. (At the end of the Lord's prayer God says, "For if you do not forgive someone when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will not forgive your sins." SO.......forgiving others is mandatory for us to be forgiven. When we do, we look like our Master and are following in His footsteps, and we reap all kinds of physical, mental, and emotional benefits when we let go of the anger and resentment that not only hurt our own beings physically and emotionally, but prevent resentment from growing out of hand that may lead to you thinking and then carrying out something you wish you had not done. Forgiving stops the vicious cycle of violence.
How can I forgive someone who tried to kill me? Do it because if you are in the lord Jesus and his spirit dwells in you you have to choose to forgive others as our God forgives us when we trespass against Him. Jesus ask his God and his Father to forgive those who crucified him, we need to follow his example.
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