As We Forgive Those...
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.