Forgive us, O Lord, as we have forgiven others
This business of forgiving others is something very distinctive about Christianity, the Way of Jesus. If you turn up at Church you’ll hear it within minutes, or if you’ve been brought up as a Christian the instruction is spoken from your earliest days. Whether we truly do it is probably
another matter! And challengly, Jesus continually links being forgiven ourselves to forgiving others. Over and over again, I guess he’s teaching us that if we first grasp the immensity of what it is to receive God’s mercy and forgiveness for ourselves, forgiveness of those who sin or offend against us will spill out of us. But perhaps it’s the other way round, if we truly set about forgiving others every day, our hearts would start to realize just how much we need forgiving ourselves!! (and forgiveness is an act of will – you’ll never feel like forgiving!) Quite frankly we really are not aware how much we need forgiving – we usually think we’re pretty OK really! Jesus’ parable today makes this disconnect clear: the man who begs on his knees to be forgiven his massive debts (when they come home to roost) within minutes then fails to see the connection with forgiving another man a much smaller debt! Whichever way round it is brothers and sisters, let’s set about the unusual tasks of both forgiving those who offend us, and asking God to show us our own hearts and the depths where we need forgiveness. For who knows where we ourselves transgress against others and cause them offence, let alone the Lord himself. And did you not know that God wants to shower his kindness on all of us!!