Praying the Lord’s prayer can be tricky because we hold a grudge against someone who has hurt us. The part that says forgive us as we forgive those that trespass against us is problematic; if someone prays the prayer and still hasn’t forgiven someone who hurt them, it may hold back their forgiveness from God. Yet, the question is, can you forgive without love? Based on Ephesians 4:32, it is possible to use tenderheartedness and kindness in place of love. Yes, love is necessary for all things; yet, we sometimes have to forgive to develop genuine love.
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:32 NLT
Therefore, to forgive without love, first, pray to your heavenly father, He can show us how to love the person and then add kindness to our heart. The Lord may remove the hardness from the hearts of those who seek to forgive. People who love who hurt us can be the hardest to forgive, and if we lost that person, it could hold on to our hearts for a long time; death does not take away any pain. However, death can bring a lapse in the process of forgiveness, but it doesn’t need to be final. Looking at the story of Tamar, King David’s daughter, who was raped by her brother and didn’t have time to forgive him since Absolom, her other brother, killed him. But she can still forgive him after he died. Yes, forgiveness is possible even if the person died. To forgive a person who passed away or no longer in contact with, forgive from your heart. Think of the person in your mind or look at a picture of the person and tell them you have forgiven them, then pray for them. Tamar would have some peace if she forgives her brother, but her life would not be different, just peaceful. Forgiveness is necessary for us healed, both physically and emotionally. Unforgiveness can cause physical illness that started from emotional strain. Forgiveness may not bring justice, but it brings hope and peace to the forgiver. Tamar’s story does not mean a rape victim should not seek justice for the crime against them. Instead, forgiveness can make it easier to take a step toward justice by removing the control the attacker has over the victim.
Christ died on the cross and made forgiveness possible for everyone. Because of Christ’s death on the cross, today, we still are free from sin, regardless of how big or small it is. Therefore, like Christ, who makes way for us to have a clean slate with God, through forgiveness, we too can forgive others so we can have a clean slate with them. You may not have a relationship with the person you have forgiven, but you would remove the stain that they leave on your heart. That is the most significant clean slate there is. Be kind to yourself by forgiving someone who hurt you and remembers that God’s grace and mercy are unlimited. He will always be there to help you with all you need.
Write a letter to someone you want to forgive but don’t have the courage to do so; write the letter that explains how the person hurt you and why you forgive the person. Once you have written the letter, pray for the person, asking God to give you the courage to forgive that person, then recite the person’s name with the statement “I forgive you.” Finally, destroy the letter because you already forgive the person and now will let your heavenly father do the rest for you if you need someone to pray for you to help you heal from a past hurt. Text PRAYER to 410-441-5416, and you will put in a prayer request, which can be anonymous.