A prayer for forgiving hearts

This post is part of my lenten series: 40 prayers for Russia's orphans.  Won't you join us in lifting up some of the most vulnerable children in our world today?   

Day 16: as we forgive those who sin against us. 

Dear God,

There's a lot to be angry about when it comes to Russia's orphans. Of course, we're angry about the adoption ban. But before the ban ever went into effect, we were upset about poor orphanage conditions and especially about the low place children with special needs find in that society. Even when it comes to good baby's and children's homes, we're angry that there is a need for them to exist. Whenever we look into the needy eyes of an orphaned child, we're bound to let our anger burn against the people, laws, and systems that put (and keep) her in that awful position. 

And actually, a lot of that anger is righteous. Righteous anger is good. I believe you give us righteous anger to energize us and spur us on to work toward a more just and peaceful world. To model our behavior after you and not after evil.

But at the same time, we have to forgive those who sin against us. For some of us, it means we have to forgive people who might have hurt our children, before they came home. For others, it means we have to forgive those who prevent our children from coming home at all. Maybe it means we have to forgive broadly, a forgiveness in general toward all the people and systems that allow (and make) orphans to suffer. In any case, it seems impossibly hard.

So help us. Help us hold on to righteous anger while we decide to forgive. If you can forgive us for our terrible sins against you who are Holy and wholly perfect, surely we can forgive others for their sins against us, who are small and guilty the same.

We cannot let evil run unchecked in the world, nor can we let bitterness run unchecked in our hearts.

Show us how to do the impossible. Teach us how to forgive. Let us work for justice out of love and not hate. Only by your grace and example will we be successful.

Help us forgive.


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