matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, January 25, 2014
Adventures in Forgiveness
I’ve been reflecting on forgiveness this week. Off and on, I mean. So much so that I prayed and meditated on it. I used a verse that I usually do not use for in-depth meditation, simply because it’s so worn out and well-used (to my mind) that I usually can’t think of anything else to say about it. I’m talking about the verse on forgiveness from the Lord’s Prayer. “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” However, I did happen to think of a few new things this week.
God, I know that this verse tells me that I really need to forgive others. After all, what I am saying (and hopefully, agreeing with You when I pray) is that I want You, God, to forgive me. This is in the same way/to the same proportion as I forgive other people. Now, if I really think about this proposition in depth, I must admit. It’s quite scary. I am not the most unforgiving person, true. But if I hold on to any unforgiveness in my heart, it would be hypocritical to expect God to continue to forgive me freely. If I really and truly expect the Lord’s Prayer to mean anything at all, that is.
I think most people would agree that this is a very scary proposition. I’ve known several individuals who were particularly unforgiving. From what I knew of them, they considered themselves to be “good Christians.” However, having such a mean, pinched attitude where they would not deign to even consider forgiving certain others? Regardless of what “unforgivable sins” had been committed, whether or not “egregious slights” or sins of omission had been perpetrated, I would be scared to death to consider the consequences.
This is serious stuff, here! I’m not one to make bargains with God, but I consider this forgiving (or NOT forgiving) to be of paramount importance.
Let’s pray. God, I’m getting down on my knees. I pray that I truly forgive those who have sinned against me, in any way. I know that You have forgiven me—and I fall on my face in absolute wonder and amazement at such love, mercy and grace. As far as the east is from the west, so far have You removed our transgressions from us. Thank You! Dear God, remove any hypocritical notion of self-sufficiency from our hearts, and banish any spirit of unforgiveness from us. Thank You for the freedom and the ability to stand before You and honestly, earnestly say, “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” In Your mercy, Lord, hear our prayer.