“Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
“He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation.”
“But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness,meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.”
Forgiveness is probably one of the hardest things to do. We all have been affected by someone else’s thoughtless or selfish actions. Their behaviour can affect us personally, and can hurt our pride, our self-esteem, and we may lose trust and faith in them. It may be difficult to forgive them because we are hurting so much, but forgive them we must. And we are told to forgive the way our heavenly Father forgives us, so abundantly.
When we sin we must realize that our sin hurts God, as well as other people. And when we repent and ask forgiveness, we ask it first of God (Luke 11) and then we need to ask the forgiveness of others who have been affected. Remember that the measure we give will be the measure we get, i.e. how we forgive others will be how the Father will forgive us. We are confident that if we ask God to forgive us of our sins, He does. This is the only relationship we have where the persons we are speaking to, God and Christ, truly know our heart and mind better than we do. They know if we are truly repentant or just paying lip service. It is an intimate and close relationship, if we are truly letting them into our hearts.
Unlike our heavenly Father, we do not have the ability to look into another person’s heart to see if they are truly repentant. We have to accept it at face value. But we are told many times in scripture, if we are asked to forgive we are to forgive. If we cannot truly forgive we affect our relationship with our heavenly Father and Christ as well as those we love.
May we be compelled to forgive as we have been forgiven.