Litany for Peacemaking and Forgiveness

I have been thinking a lot lately about reconciliation and peacemaking. What difficult, humble work it is! In a 24-hour period I have sent a message of apology to a person I had fallen out with many years ago, apologized to my husband for a hurt I’d dealt him, and called and apologized to a friend for yet another hurt.

We have been hurt, and we have dealt out hurt. If we haven’t already, we know we will eventually. The hardest part for me about forgiveness is that it is so open-ended, such a continual journey; and that we need it on both sides: the wrong and the wronged. We can never be certain another person has forgiven us; we can only be certain of God’s forgiveness toward us. As Bonhoeffer says, “Forgiving has neither beginning nor end, it takes place daily, for ultimately it comes from God.”

It’s probably some of the hardest work we’ll do, so we’d better pray about it.  

God, we turn our attention now to the work of peacemaking and reconciliation.
Christ is our peace.
We remember Jesus in the throes of death, offering forgiveness and peace to those who had taunted and tormented him.
Christ is our example.
We remember Jesus after his resurrection, offering forgiveness and restoration to his disciples who had denied and forsaken him.
Christ is our leader.

We acknowledge that we have wronged others and been wronged by others,
And need forgiveness applied to both.

Help us to forgive others as we have been forgiven by You,
For in forgiving, we find peace and freedom.
Help us to have humility and courage
   To admit when we are wrong
   To confess and apologize
   To make amends to those we have hurt.

We acknowledge that forgiveness benefits the forgiver
And that we can never force others to forgive us.
We acknowledge that we may never see the results of our peacemaking
But that you see our hearts.

We thank you God, for removing our transgressions from us
Thanks be to God
We ask for hearts conformed to the way of Christ
Ready to offer peace; willing to forgive and be forgiven.