"Forgive us our debts as we have also forgiven our debtors." Matthew 6:12 NIV
Here is The New Century Version of this verse to help us get started today. . .
"Forgive us for our sins, just as we have forgiven those who sinned against us."
Feel fragmented - unsettled - half there? My quick answer is "Yup!" Life crowds in on us - sometimes because of our choices and sometimes from outside pressures. Since we have no control over outside pressures, let's take a look at our inside responses. Today's portion of The Lord's Prayer gives us the key to de-fragmented, settled and fully connected living . . . FORGIVENESS!
As a sportmom, teaching my girls to say 'I'm sorry' was always a challenge. One was quick to say it even if the situation wasn't her fault just to bring a quick end to unwanted conflict while the other found it very difficult to make her mouth form those daunting words. Nevertheless, we hung in there with the challenge and it paid off. As they grew a little older we added a 'will you forgive me?' phrase to their apologies. Of course this required an 'I forgive you' response the latter of which was much easier for them to offer.
The "forgiveness asked for - forgiveness given" process is the most freeing experience a human can choose. Yes . . . it is a choice. And it takes two - the forgiver and the forgiven . . . one asking for mercy and one granting it.
Asking for mercy involves an apology for causing hurt. Although the 'I'm sorry-it's okay" method of apologizing comes from a sincere heart, it can often short-change ourselves and others. Adding the 'will you forgive me?' question brings a spirit of humility to the apology...admitting a wrong and asking for forgiveness extends the hand of love to the wronged person.
Granting mercy (forgiving) can be quite natural when the humility of the perpetrator is conveyed in the ask. A certain gratitude wells up in the heart of the forgiver with a willingness to accept the hand of reconciliation. In that moment the words "you are forgiven" changes 'the perpetrator' into 'the forgiven' and things are "settled up" between you.
When there is no ask . . . no attempt to right a wrong . . . no forgiveness requested . . . a root of bitterness can grow deep within us. We long to have our injury recognized so we fill the emptiness by re-living and rehearsing the wrong done against us.
"As long as you don't forgive, who and whatever it is will occupy a rent-free space in your mind." Isabelle Holland
Good news! Forgiveness with all of it's rewards can be granted without being requested...Christ modeled this for us as he hung on the cross!
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:24 NIV
As uncomfortable as it may seem, asking our Heavenly Father to forgive them brings a Hallelujah Anyway attitude - a renewed spirit and a "settling in". We have turne it over to the One who can take care of it... we intercede for our debtor.
TO FORGIVE BRINGS A SETTLED HEART -
TO BE FORGIVEN CREATES AN INNOCENT HEART
These acts of forgiveness make it possible for our Heavenly Father to forgive us in like manner. Here is the promise, if you forgive, your heavenly Father will also forgive.
Blessings . . . as you settle up with others and settle into God's forgiveness.
For more view the second segment of THE INTERRUPTED PRAYER - select the BEHIND THE BENCH BLOG tab above.
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