Finally! We get to have a week that will be easy as we look at the next phrase in the Lord’s Prayer. ….NOT!
And forgive us our sins,
as we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
If you have not had the opportunity to listen to Pastor Josh’s message on prayer from Sunday, do it as soon as possible. Within it, he talks openly about the challenges we have in saying these words and actually meaning them. I especially loved his opening question:
Would you be comfortable praying for God to forgive you
the same way you forgive others?
Don’t move past that question. Linger on it for a moment. This question is at the heart of the phrase we are going to focusing on this week. This is a moment of reflection that you shouldn’t rush past, even though that is exactly what we are prone to do.
Most of us know exactly what we want when we pray the first five words of this section of the prayer – And forgive us our sins. Is that ambiguous to any of us? Of course not. We know that there are ways we sin against others. We further know that when we sin against others, we are sinning against God. King David says as much in Psalm 51:
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
Psalm 51:1-4 (NIV)
We do need God’s forgiveness. We’ll talk about that more tomorrow. But Jesus does not stop there at all. He could have. We tend to forget that Jesus was the one teaching this prayer, and He could have just stopped at the point of us asking forgiveness from God. Notice that He doesn’t have us pray, “Give us today our daily bread, as we give daily bread to others.” He does, however, include an additional part to our petition for forgiveness that qualifies our request.
Take some time to contemplate this and turn your prayer into a question: Heavenly Father, is there anyone I should forgive in the way I am asking you to forgive me? God wants us to understand His forgiveness so that we have the resources we need to forgive others. If someone comes to mind, you may not be able to forgive as easily as it may sound. Are you willing to allow God to work on your heart so that this prayer can be as true in your heart as it is passing your lips?