I’m Doug Apple...and my heart is on fire! (Luke 24:32)
“...and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
“Lord, right now I forgive everyone for everything, past, present...and future. God, I forgive everyone in advance for anything they might do or say today, so that I am free to love them with the power of Your Holy Spirit flowing through me.”
That’s how I do it. That is how I practice what I call “preemptive forgiveness.”
Preemptive forgiveness means forgiving in advance.
Look, you know something dumb is going to happen, right? You don’t know who. You don’t know when. You don’t know what. You don’t know why, but sure enough, there it is. Someone is going to say something, they’re going to do something, it might be on accident, it might be on purpose, it might even be with criminal intent, but I say we forgive them IN ADVANCE and get that part out of the way, so then we can be completely free to love them in the way that God wants us to love them.
Jesus told us to love another. He told us to love our neighbor. He told us to love our enemies.
But listen. You can’t love someone you hate. You can’t love someone properly while at the same time harboring unforgiveness. A house divided against itself cannot stand.
In Mark 11:25, Jesus told us that if we have anything against anyone, we must forgive them.
Let it go.
And we do that with a very specific purpose in mind. We forgive them so that we can be completely free to love them just as God wants us to love them.
The fruit of the Spirit is…love, among other things, but the first on the list is love. God wants us to love people, He empowers us to love people, and to properly do that, we must walk in forgiveness.
And what I’m promoting is something a bit unusual. It is forgiving...in advance. It is preemptive forgiveness.
In Luke 17:1, Jesus said, “It is impossible that no offenses should come…” Offenses are coming. Knowing that, what should we do?
I say we forgive them in advance, preemptively. We bomb the enemy’s base before he even gets the offense rocket off the ground.
That eliminates the offense altogether. I’m not offended because hey, I forgave that already. Now I’m free to love them in whatever way God wants me to love them, in whatever way they need to be loved, in whatever way is best for them, for their life and their future and their own walk with God, and their eternity.
That doesn’t make us doormats. That doesn’t mean people can walk all over us. Listen. Love is the power position. Perfect love casts out fear. Love causes you to lay down your life for others, and a person who is so sold out that they are willing to lay down their life like that...like I said, love is the power position, the very opposite of a doormat.
When you love someone, you want what is best for them. Sometimes accountability is exactly what they need. Sometimes being arrested is what they need. Yes, you can call the police on someone you dearly love, because sometimes that is exactly what they need. But you don’t do it because you are offended and hurt and bitter and harboring unforgiveness. Listen, you can forgive...and press charges. It can be done in love.
The point is, remove offenses from the equation. I’m saying, never get offended again by practicing preemptive forgiveness, which sets us free from all offense, which sets us free to love people which is what we must do anyway.
And the way I do that is very practical. Each morning I pray through the Lord’s prayer, and when I come to that part about trespasses I pray “Lord, right now I forgive everyone for everything, past, present...and future. God, I forgive everyone in advance for anything they might do or say, so that I am free to love them with the power of Your Holy Spirit flowing through me.”
May God bless you today.
I’m Doug Apple.