“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” [Matthew ch6 v12]
Who would have thought that the verse before would have so much to it, I am still blown away by all that it meant? This time though we are looking into “Forgiveness” which is a particular feature of the teaching of Jesus. It was something He identified and enforced with parables, think of the Prodigal Son, how patient and loving and totally forgiving the Father was. Telling us how totally patient, loving and forgiving God the Father is with everyone, that means all people, the ones we like and the ones we do not like.
When we approach Him and ask for forgiveness we are confident that He will forgive not because we have “earned“ that privilege but because God is a Forgiving God. We also have Jesus who sits at God’s Right Hand and who mediates for us. This gives us the confidence to Pray and this is why we pray in the Name of Jesus.
Let us look at the first word “And” I have to admit that I never thought about this before that the line we read about forgiveness is connected to the earlier line regarding daily bread. It implies that we need to ask for forgiveness daily. It is part of that thing which we do when we review the day and our thoughts and actions throughout that time and forgiveness is needed to satisfy our souls and so our very selves. When you think of it when we are at peace with ourselves and with God we feel much better about life and about ourselves. It is an essential for health of mind and body.
Forgiveness is the balm which heals the hurts we carry around within us, anger at past events or insults real or imagined can only serve to cause us more harm than the person who has upset us. Letting go of what has happened and handing it over to God makes such a difference in our lives. Has someone been downright nasty, – hand it over to God, has someone been really hurtful, – hand it over to God, – has someone gone too far, – hand it over to God?
This is not as easy as it sounds, it requires a lot of faith and strength of character to do that because forgiveness from the heart is something we can rarely do alone. We need the support and calming Love of the Holy Spirit to lead us through the process of getting over the hardship of anger and upset through to complete forgiveness. In that way the burden is taken up by God who leaves us with a peaceful heart.
Therefore, this line of the prayer of Jesus is a powerful one, where we are exhorted to forgive others as much as God forgives us. Let us also look at this the other way, if we find ourselves saying “I will never forgive her or him”, think about it and think what is being said here and what happens when we pray the Lords Prayer. Maybe we need then to think again and look at the person who has so upset us. Look at life from their angle and try to see why they have done whatever it is, they may be unhappy and strike out at everyone else, they may be carrying a heavy burden in their lives and are short tempered with the rest of the world. So many reasons and so many times we have to take a breath and take time to pray for them and pray that whatever besets them can be resolved.
This is part of the Christian way of life, to have a care for those who are not so nice to us. It is with Jesus in our hearts that we can fulfil this part of the prayer, for He gives us the strength to seek the highest good of others no matter how they treat us.
LET US PRAY
We give thanks for the wonder of Jesus who has taught us so much in His Prayer which has been handed down through the ages yet speaks so much to us even to this day.
Help us to Forgive as You Forgive, with compassion and patience and love. We know that we cannot do this alone but need Your strength in our lives.
In Jesus Christ You taught us to pray and to offer petitions to You in His name. Guide us by Your Holy Spirit that our prayers for others may serve Your will.
You made all things in Your wisdom, and, in Your love, Yousave us. So we pray for all creation, that evil powers might be cast down, that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness might be fed, and that all Your children might enjoy in equal measure the fruits of Your world.
We pray for the Church. Keep us one in faith and service, so that Your Good News might be proclaimed, and so that Your love and light might be a beacons of hope and purpose in the darkest places.
We cannot love You fully unless we love our neighbours as ourselves.
So we pray for our enemies and our friends; we pray for all those in need, in body, mind and spirit; we pray for all who suffer from pain and sorrow;
especially any known to us whom we name before You now —————————————————–
God of compassion, bless us and those we love, that, drawing close to You, we may be drawn closer to each other. And hold us always in communion with the Saints of all the ages, especially those dear to us, in the one Kingdom of Your love In Jesus’ name we pray
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