(Mark 11:25; Colossians 3:13)

Not one person reading this Devotional today, has not had someone at some point in your life hurt you. Some of you may have been physically or sexually abused as a child by a mother, a father, a relative, or someone your family knew. Some of you may have had a wonderful childhood, but in your young adult life been hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend. Some of you may have been the victim of a horrible crime like robbery or rape.

Still others may have been deeply hurt by your husband or wife that wanted a divorce. There are many of you that have been hurt later in life by your children. Lots of people reading this have been hurt by employers, business associates, or close friends. Sadly, some of you have even been hurt by a pastor or someone in your church. The fact is, EVERYONE reading this today has been hurt at some point in your life.

As painful as the experience was that caused this hurt in your life, so many people have compounded that pain by letting bitterness, even hatred into their life against the person or people who caused your pain. Today, I am going to help set you free from this hurt and pain you have experienced in your life.

In a prison, they have a central lock that can automatically open all of the cell doors in a given area. If you have ever been in prison or watched a prison movie you know what I am talking about. There is the loud buzz, followed by the clanking sound of all of the cell doors automatically opening. Today, many of you are in prison from the hurts and pains in your life. Today, the cell door is going to open and you are going to be FREE!!!

The key to unlocking that door is FORGIVENESS. As simple as this may seem, it can be one of the most difficult things in this world to do. Forgiving someone who has hurt us deeply is one of the hardest things to do in life. It is not something that we can even do in our own strength, but must be done in the strength we get from the Lord.

I realize that many people right now are saying, “NO WAY, not after what that person did to me.” As a Christian, it should be our goal to be like our Lord every day. What were some of the last words Christ spoke from the cross? What was his last act before dying that horrific death? He asked God to forgive those who had crucified Him!

When we sin, and we all sin every day, what do we do? We go to God and ask Him to forgive us. We do so with the full assurance that He will forgive us because He has promised to in His Word. In Colossians 3:13 the Bible tells us to “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

God’s Word is clear that just as Christ forgives us when we sin against Him, we must forgive those who sin against us! That is the key to unlocking the prison door and being free once and for all from the hurt and pain you have experienced in your life. FORGIVE the person or people who have hurt you in your life!

The other problem I deal with each day is people not being able to forgive themselves. Listen, the Bible tells us that we have “all come short of the glory of God.” We are all sinners. We all make mistakes. When you go to God and confess your sins, the Bible promises us that He not only forgives us but cleanses us from all unrighteousness. He not only has forgiven us, but He has forgotten the transgression. God acts like it never happened. The point I’m trying to make is that if God has forgiven you, if God has wiped the slate clean, if in God’s mind the sin never existed…then you need to forgive yourself.

I love you and care about you so much. I realize that this is a difficult word for many of you to hear today, but this is going to literally change the lives of those who will receive it . . . and do it! I want you to take a moment right now, stop what you are doing, and take out a piece of paper and a pen. Literally write down the name of the person or names of the people in your life who have hurt you deeply. Now, pray this prayer,

“Dear Father, I come to you today, thanking you that you love me so much. I thank you that you are not only a God of love, but a God of forgiveness. Thank you for forgiving me of my sins. Father, I come today and pray that you will give me YOUR strength to forgive those who have hurt me in my life. Right now, this moment, I forgive (name/names). I not only forgive them, but Father, I ask that you bless them. They need you in their life and I pray that they will come to have a personal, intimate relationship with your Son. Thank you for giving me the strength to forgive and thank you for setting me free from the pain in my life. In Jesus precious name I pray, AMEN!”

I will be praying for each of you today to pray this prayer. It is time to forgive those who have hurt you, and it is time to forgive yourself if need be. Put the hurt and pain of your past behind you once and for all and move forward with your life. God still has much left for you to do and by forgiving those who have hurt you, you are now free to do all that He wants to do in and through your life for His Kingdom!

In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,
Bill Keller

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