Thursday, November 17, 2011

Forgiveness Part III

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In church, we've been doing a study on the Lord's Prayer.

"Our Father, who's in Heaven, may your name be holy.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us today our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Don't lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.

We've been taking that one line at a time for several weeks now, and a couple of weeks ago we hit

"Forgives us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

It would seem that I've already covered both pieces of that statement, forgiving others and accepting God's forgiveness. But there's one little word in there that hit me like a ton of bricks that Sunday:


I had always interpreted the sentence as "Forgive us our trespasses WHILE we forgive those who trespass against us." I thought of "as" as in "I'm going to scream like a chicken AS I wave my arms at the same time."

But I don't think that's what this "as" means.

I think the statement might be more like "Forgive us our trespasses IN THE SAME WAY we forgive those who trespass against us."

And holy hellfire, is that ever a scarier interpretation. By praying this, I'm asking God to give me forgiveness in the grudging, sometimes-never-complete way I forgive everyone else? Oh jeez.

I know we're supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves, and I know we're supposed to forgive people. However, when you put those two ideas together in "forgive us AS we forgive others," it's a whole 'nother level of intensity, a 'nother level of commitment.

Now, I don't think God necessarily looks at the way we forgive others and gives us the same treatment. I mean, if he did that, we'd all be screwed. God does say that if we don't forgive our brother or whatever, he won't forgive us.

But then, the whole point of Grace is that it's NOT FAIR. God shows us merciful forgiveness all the time. Because Jesus took all our crap on himself, when God looks at us he just sees Jesus's perfection, not all our shortcomings.

God definitely forgives us in a way that we will never be able to forgive others. So I don't think that we're all going to Hell because we still haven't let go of Suzy stealing those crayons in kindergarten. {Although really, it might be just about time to let that one go.}

I think the point is to make us examine ourselves. The point is to give us something to strive for. We should live trying to forgive others in the way that God forgives us. We should live hoping that one day we'll be able to pray the Lord's Prayer with all sincerity. We should live so that the line "forgive us as we forgive others" doesn't scare the hell out of us.

Or wait. Maybe that's the idea XD


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