Does the Lord’s Prayer inspire humbleness and obedience as it honors God when you recite it? Living and believing the power in that prayer keeps us close to Christ. How many times have we said the words of His kingdom coming and His will being done on earth as it is in heaven without honestly believing what we say. Jesus’ model prayer keeps us in tune with the Great I Am.
Are you remembering times when you and your family said this prayer? I flash back to dating days when Tim and I would pray this prayer holding hands in the front seat of his daddy’s big, green Oldsmobile. On our first night as man and wife, we knelt and said these words. While raising our family, we made this prayer our cornerstone. Praying it became a healthy habit that kept us closely connected through seasons of sunshine and sorrow.
Meditating on the forgiveness part of this prayer proves the power of releasing unforgiveness. Refusing to forgive can keep hearts hardened and people from heading to heaven. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us” is clear and concise. Asking forgiveness and forgiving is imperative if we plan to enter paradise.
C.S. Lewis has this to say about forgiveness, “I find Fear a great help-the fear that my own unforgivingness will exclude me from all the promises. Fear tames wrath. And this fear (we have Our Lord’s word for it) is wholly well-grounded. The human heart is wicked. Joy often quoted this in connection with the great difficulty she found in forgiving a very near and very nasty relative of her own. One has to keep on forgiving over again, doesn’t one?
As for myself, during the past year a great joy has befallen me. Difficult thought it is, I shall try to explain this in words. It is astonishing that sometimes we believe that we believe what really, in our heart, we do not believe. For a long time I believed that I believed in the forgiveness of sins. But suddenly this truth appeared in my mind in so clear a light that I perceived that never before had I believed it with my whole heart.
Do you know only a few weeks ago I realized that I at last had forgiven the cruel schoolmaster who so darkened my childhood. I’d been trying to do it for years; and like you, each time I thought I’d done it, I found, after a week or so it all had to attempted over again. But this time I feel sure it is the real thing. And (like learning to swim or to ride a bicycle) the moment it does happen it seems so easy and you wonder why on earth you didn’t do it years ago. So the parable of the judge comes true, and what has been vainly asked for years can suddenly be granted. I also get a quite new feeling about “If you forgive you will be forgiven.” I don’t believe it is, as it sounds, a bargain. The forgiving and the being forgiven are really the very same thing. But one is safe as long as one keeps on trying.”
Lewis’ words trample toes (mine anyway) with truths on forgiving and being forgiven. Have you held onto grudges or offenses, tried to forgive someone but took it back, even distanced yourself from friends and family members when failing to forgive trumped a sincere “I’m sorry – please forgive me”?
God has the final word on forgiveness. There is power and promise when He speaks that we should forgive not seven times but seventy times seven. God’s Son came to model the prayer He taught His disciples to pray. He forgave and even gave His life for our sins. He forgave those that man rejected, even the thief who hung beside Him on the cross. His teachings tender believers’ hearts today as hatred and hatefulness harden hearts of those who do not know Jesus or chose to follow Jesus. His amazing grace is a sweet sound for wretched people, for wonderful people, for all people who once were lost but now are found.
Jesus is ready and willing to forgive the wicked and forget the cruel sins that plague our world when sinners accept Him and seek forgiveness. He is ready and waiting to do the same for you and me when small sins creep in, causing turmoil and tension in our lives. The forgiveness thing is real and wonderful, a promise from the One who created us in His image and loves us unconditionally.
Asking God to forgive our trespasses as we forgive people who trespass against us should be done before the sun sets today. That’s what God tells us to do when we’re angry as well. Putting off making things right with the Lord and loved ones is risky business. I pray this story touches peoples’ hearts to go to a brother or sister, friend or foe, business associate or co-worker, anyone that needs to be forgiven and do as The Lord’s Prayer says…ask God to forgive us as we forgive others.
When you forgive, great things happen. The greatest is the ending which is really the beginning. “…for thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever.” Amen.