The Prayer of Liberation
If anyone had good reason to be bitter and angry it was Jesus.
Judas betrayed Him. Peter denied Him. His closest friends deserted Him.
Jesus had given over three years of His life to loving, teaching, healing, and feeding needy people. Yet, those same people cried out for His death with the harsh words, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
The Jewish leaders plotted His death, Pilate ordered it, and the Romans carried it out. The cruel Roman soldiers beat Him, spit on Him, drove a crown of thorns into His head, and shredded His back with thirty-nine lashes from a brutal leather whip.
Then, with the most grotesque form of execution available, the soldiers drove spokes into His hands and feet nailing them to cross pieces of wood. They hung Him up as a spectacle before a jeering crowd.
Writhing up and down in agony, Jesus, the giver of life, had to fight through excruciating pain for every breath as He pulled and pushed against the spikes. Every breath was merciless torture.
Beyond that, the thief beside Him mocked and scorned Him. The crowd viciously derided Him. The religious leaders jeered at Him with contempt.
All these people had deeply hurt Him.
But Jesus did not bow to bitterness. He refused to take His revenge. He did not acquiesce to anger.
No. His hands and feet were bound, but not His soul. He resisted the inner urge to let bitterness take His soul captive. Instead He prayed the prayer of setting captives free. He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
Jesus also said that we are to do what He did and forgive others., “Forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)
Then He added, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
First, the prayer of liberation is choosing to forgive those who have hurt. When you do this, you liberate your soul from the prison of bitterness. When we consider the monumental amount of sin from which God has forgiven us we should be motivated to forgive others. It is praying: Father, I was hurt by so and so because they did such and such. But by the grace of God, I choose to forgive him today, to cancel the debt, and to free them of their offenses.
Second, the prayer of liberation asks God to bless the one who has hurt you. Resentment is a wicked vine that has deep roots. Forgiveness cuts off the vine. But because of big hurts, the roots can remain deeply entrenched. Asking God to bless your enemies pulls out the roots of resentment.
When you pray today, ask God to forgive the ones who have hurt you and to bless your enemies.