Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32, NLT

The part of the Lord’s Prayer that we might find a bit tricky is that section that asks God to “forgive us as we forgive others.” The language is loftier than this phrase, but the intention is the same. The message is that God will forgive me in the same way I forgive those who have offended me. Yipes! That could be a problem. What does it mean to forgive?

“Forgive” is a word that humbles our spirits and maybe even our conscience.  Forgive means I have to let go of something my ego wants me to put up on a marquis for all the world to see. After all, I was hurt, and the pain just never goes away. The other person doesn’t deserve my forgiveness.

Okay, but think about it. Do you deserve God’s forgiveness? Have you been so entirely holy that He would not find a spot or a blemish on you? If so, I would say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” The rest of us though, have a few blemishes, a few times when we’ve fallen flat on our faces. We desperately want to be forgiven. We’re grateful to know that God is not holding every horrid thing we’ve ever done against us. In fact, He’s provided a lamb to take our poor choices and behaviors away. We are forgiven! Period!

Forgiven. Wow! The addition of one little letter “n” and things start to turn around. I am forgiven so I can do better from here.

Forgiveness may feel difficult if you still have people who cause you to grow angry when you think of them. They offended you. They wounded your pride and broke your heart. You are wounded again with each thought of the incident.  Even if it happened years ago, forgiveness may still be the answer to finding genuine peace. When unforgiveness lingers in your soul, it causes you pain. It shrinks your spirit, and it has power over you that does not serve you well. 

Consider this: How many times has God forgiven you? How many times did you deserve His forgiveness?

God wants you to forgive others the same way He forgives you…which is fully, unconditionally, and forever. He wants you to forgive like your life depends on it. The fact is your life does depend on it. You cannot be free to be everything you are meant to be without first cleaning up the past. You know you are grateful that God forgives you and doesn’t look back. He does that so you can move on, do better, and be better. He wants you to love and forgive and create amazing new memories.  Forgiveness brings healing to your heart and peace to your soul. So, repeat after me…

“Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”  

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

“Forgive us for our sins just as we have forgiven those who sinned against us.”

It seems pretty clear. We have to forgive each other because that’s the very height of love.

Blessings to you all.