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G R A H A M  K E N D R I C K :  W O R S H I P  L E A D E R,  S O N G W R I T E R  &  T E A C H E R

Merciful (At the cross where Jesus suffered)

Nelson Mandela said these words; 'As I walked out the gate that I knew would lead to my freedom I knew that if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind me I would still be in prison.’ Now he knew something about forgiveness. A whole chunk of his life had been stolen from him in one sense but in another sense because he found his way through to forgiveness it actually was the seedbed for all that he achieved.

Now we have loads of songs in church that are about God forgiving us, and maybe not so many about us forgiving others but we pray it in the Lord's Prayer. We ask for our sins to be forgiven as we forgive those who have sinned against us. So there's a conditional side to this as well, and that is really, really challenging.

There's no doubt that it is a really difficult thing to forgive. Now this song (Merciful) about forgiveness, about forgiving others actually, started out when a friend of mine, author R.T. Kendall, who has preached on the subject for years and years (he’s written many books but probably his best-known book is called Total Forgiveness) said to me 'Would you have a go at writing a song about forgiveness?’ I'm always up for that kind of challenge, so I read the book. I'd read it previously so I re-read it and I tried to draw out the main points and put them into a song which would be a prayer - a song that you can sing as a commitment to that pathway of forgiveness, recognizing, as R.T. Kendall brings out in his book that forgiveness is not just a one-off thing where there is deep hurts, but it's an ongoing choice. It's a daily choice.

At the cross where Jesus suffered I lay down my bitter blame
Where he prayed Father forgive them Lord I know I must do the same
Laying down my pain my anger Vengeful thoughts nailed to the cross
Take the sting of wrongs remembered No more measuring my loss

For my Father in heaven showed mercy to me
How can I not be merciful
When God's been merciful to me, God's been merciful to me

I'll not use my words as weapons Or the past to gain control
On my tongue no trace of venom Only grace to comfort and make whole
I am weak but God is with me Past and future in his hand
Turns to good the ill we suffer Works all things into Love's plan

Holy Dove, return and rest here As I think and speak the best
Though it takes ten thousand choices I'll press on to honour and to bless
For the love of Christ my Saviour By the strength he daily gives
This will be the thanks I offer I will totally forgive

Graham Kendrick
Copyright © 2009 Make Way Music
www.grahamkendrick.co.uk

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