My first reaction is that I can’t do it.
I have been helped by asking God to forgive them kind of like how Jesus asked to forgive them.
Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.
Luke 23:34 NKJV
Yesterday God protected me from getting offended after waiting an extra hour for my coworkers to finish the project they were working on they asked me to come back late at night and help them finish up. If I had not helped them at all they would not have asked me. God protected my from offense because I only helped them because He gave me the strength and courage to do so. I did nothing and I felt no offense only gratitude for His goodness.
If I understood my help to be something they owed me for I think I would have been angry.
Forgiveness is like that. It has to do with owing. If someone owes me money I can forgive them and they no longer owe me anything.
The problem for me is that I continue to think and feel that they owe me something like respect or gratitude or a favor. They do not.
I don’t think it is possible for me to forgive without Jesus. Nothing in me wants to do it. But He showers this gift sweetly and overwhelmingly.
He forgave me all my wrong behavior and thoughts and uncaring at the cross. He paid my debt, the punishment I deserved and I owe Him nothing for it.
I don’t owe Him but I am grateful beyond measure and I want Him to have my life and everything in it because He made my life possible.
I intuitively know that I messed up. I deserve to go to hell and there is nothing I can do about it.
But Jesus did something and He asks nothing in return. If I can accept it, if I can believe He loves me that much, then I begin to walk with Him in forgiveness.