Forgive as We Forgive
Topic: Lord's Prayer Verse: Matthew 6:12–6:15, Matthew 18:21–18:34
Forgive us… as we forgive others.
Forgive me, Father, AS I forgive others…
Sometimes we say the words, but they never hit our hearts. In order to thoughtfully dig in to these words that Jesus taught us to pray means we have to face two things: the sins done BY us, and the sins done TO us.
When somebody wrongs you, they’re "on the hook." It can even feel good to have them on the hook. I am mad, I was betrayed, they messed up … and when we have them on the hook, we get to let them dangle there.
When someone is on the hook, we imagine that we are protecting ourselves from being hurt by them; we imagine we have some level of control over them and it can actually feel kind of good to have them on the hook.
* Who do you have on the hook? Who do you need to forgive?
* MAYBE it’s just forgiving everyday irritations (traffic, the way toothpaste tube is squeezed, leaving lights on…) So maybe it is forgiving everyday irritations.
* MAYBE it is something longstanding and much deeper: a wound inflicted on you
Big or small, deeply painful or mildly irritating, in order to live free, God knows you and I have to forgive, to let others off the hook. Because when we DON’T forgive someone, let them off the hook, let go of the resentment, eventually WE find ourselves up
on that hook too. When we won’t move towards forgiveness, a little part of our heart grows cold, and a piece of us might harden, and resentment kicks in, and we find ourselves consumed by our pain. Jesus knows what happens to the human heart when we DON’T forgive.
The Kingdom of God is about grace, forgiveness, and second chances. Don’t let
unforgiveness cut you off from this flow of Grace, or you will live (choose) a tortured life.
God is inviting every single one of us to start the process of forgiveness right here, and then continue it this week, this month and this year. Continue it in your prayer life and with your small group and, if needed, with a counselor. But start it today:
* Who is it you need to let off the hook? Picture that person.
* What’s one concrete step that you can take this week toward letting that person off the hook? Is it a phone call? Is it a face-to-face meeting? Is it a letter that you need to send? If they are not safe to meet with, or if they have passed away, then can you
take a step in your prayer time? Is it time to finally call the counselor? Write down that step so you can visually seet it.
To forgive as we have been forgiven, we need to ask for God’s help every day.