PFOA: Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us (Continued)
Read Matthew 6:9-15.
Let's be reminded again. Jesus is teaching His disciples, for whom eventually He would die on the cross for them, redeeming them from the wages of sin. As Christians we continue to sin, so we need to seek God's forgiveness daily. Our feet are soiled as we walk in this world, and only our feet need to be washed (see John 13:10).
In seeking forgiveness for our sins, it is implied that that we not only acknowledged them, but would have repented of them. We may have asked God to forgive us our sins in a general way, but what specific sin have you brought before the Lord in repentance? You probably have not murdered anyone or committed adultery; but Jesus has raised the bar to include hate and lust. And what about anger, especially in the anonymity of driving a car; or gossip, which we euphemistically call "sharing". Let the Psalmist remind us "If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened" Psalm 66:18 (NIV).
Of all the petitions in the prayer, Jesus not only qualifies this, but adds a commentary at the end. Thus we need to pay attention to it. Jesus understood our hearts so well - that he added Matthew 6:14-15 "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins" (NIV). Isn't this one of the hardest thing to do - to forgive someone who has offended or hurt us? Peter asked Jesus "How many times?" And the answer? "Not 7, but 77 times", or in today's language, "who's counting?"
If we truly realise the immensity of God's mercy and forgiveness, we would forgive others and not hold any grudges. No, we don't have to "teach them a lesson", or exact any retribution, or even wait for them to ask for forgiveness. There is no place for bitterness. Forgive others as God has forgiven you.
Or turning it around, do you want God to forgive you in the same way as you forgive those who have hurt or offended you?