My wife and I were sharing a time of Bible reading and talking about the Lord’s prayer this morning after breakfast.
Mat 6:8 –15
…. for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
We were discussing the issue of forgiveness and how forgiveness is tied up in the act of love. Both of us have faced tremendous pain, hardship and deep wounding in the past. In this we are not alone; for many of my readers have also faced tremendous pain, hardship and deep wounding in the past and there is a strong possibility that you are still are going through this now.
My wife made the observation that often we don’t know how to forgive, nor do we want to forgive. Sometimes the hurt from what has been done to us is so strong and deep that there is no way we can even think about forgiveness. Its in these times perhaps that we can think about praying;
Lord, help me to be willing, to be willing to forgive. For I don’t know how to forgive; I don’t want to forgive; and yet I know that you want me to forgive. So I ask that you will help me and show me how I can forgive and to help me to do so.
Finally on the subject of forgiveness. Its important to distinguish the difference between forgiving and still carrying the hurt that happened to us. I have heard it said far to many times; forgive and forget. This is pastorally dangerous. Forgiveness says; in spite of what has happened to me; I forgive you for it. It does not mean that we forget what happened to us. God is able to take the sting out of those hurts. He is able to heal our hearts of the bitterness and pain, and even heal our memories of what happened to us.
Forgiveness releases us from the pain and bitterness of what has happened to us. It doesn’t ever excuse what happened to us. A wise man once told me that there are times when we need to forgive ourselves, forgive others, forgive God and even forgive circumstances and things. Whether they be real or imagined!
Finally the Lords prayer teaches us that we too are not perfect. We also have harmed others; and we too are in need of forgiveness and reconciling with God also.
So what do you think? Should we pray?