“. . . and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” Matt. 6:9 (NLT)
The scripture above is a piece of what is commonly known as “The Lord’s Prayer”. This prayer is quoted in numerous Sunday morning gatherings across the globe each week. Our worship gathering is no different but I must confess – I don’t automatically recite the Lord’s Prayer each week when I’m “supposed” to. The reason is simple – I don’t want to EVER be guilty of mindless repetition when it comes to matters of faith. I also don’t want to say words I don’t mean with the above being the best example!
Do I REALLY want God to use my level of forgiveness as a measure for how much he forgives me?! On an exceptionally good day, maybe. Most days?! No thank you! I would be fine with that statement if I was allowed an “exceptions” clause.
“. . . forgive me my sins as I have forgiven those who have asked for my forgiveness.”
Or how about . . .
“. . . forgive me my sins as I forgive those who sin against me and don’t ever do that “thing” I forgave them for again.”
See, I could handle that statement if I had loopholes like those! I don’t like the idea of having to forgive those that don’t seek forgiveness or forgiving those who have hurt me yet again. And most of us, in our “human-ness” would give ourselves (and those we love) those “exceptions” (or should I say “exemptions”).
With Easter nearly upon us, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about events of Good Friday and Easter. The following passage keeps running through my head:
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. Luke 23:34 (NLT)
Those he was forgiving did not ask for forgiveness. As he was forgiving them, some of them were gambling for his clothes! If I follow Christ’s example, the purpose of that phrase in the Lord’s prayer is clear and that’s what makes it so hard to say and really mean!!
” . . . forgive me my sins as I forgive those who speak cruel things about me to others.”
“. . . forgive me my sins as I forgive those who apologize again and again for hurtful behavior that never changes.”
” . . . forgive me my sins as I forgive those who hurt me and choose to defend their behavior rather than apologize.”
I know that type of forgiveness is the goal for those that are followers of Christ. It’s just so hard to live out sometimes!