Live Free

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading


Forgiveness First

Eight words. If all you get from this reading plan is to really internalize these eight simple words, it will be worth it. I lived most of my life hearing them but not fully experiencing or living them daily.

The eight words are found in John 8:36: “Who the Son sets free is free indeed.”

I understood the first few words easily—because Jesus Christ paid the price for me on the cross, I am free from sin and death. It was those last three words that I struggled with: “…is free indeed.” For me, I didn’t begin walking in the “indeed” kind of freedom until I learned the lessons in this reading plan.

First, let’s understand that being “free indeed” starts with forgiveness.

We all have people in our lives who have hurt us verbally, emotionally, physically, and/or even spiritually. And that hurt forms a grudge in us—we relive it over and over when we think of the pain or experience it again. In an ideal world, the offender would come to us and ask for forgiveness, but that may never happen.

In order to break the bondage of this pain in our lives, we need to release ideas of getting even, whether that manifests in our thought life, the words we say, or in our actions. The power of the Gospel we share comes from knowing that every offense—mine and others—has been paid. So, we hand the hurt, the grudges, and the person involved over to God and trust Him for justice and mercy.

Forgiveness is the first step to living free because God’s priority is your heart. When your heart is right, then the "living free” life will follow.

So, who in your life do you need to forgive?


When you are ready, pray this prayer: “God, I forgive (insert name), and I give up my right for revenge against them. I give you the hurt and grudges and trust your will for justice and mercy in their life. Thank you, Jesus, for doing the same for me. Amen.”