Forgiveness is Mandatory

I’ve been thinking a lot about prayer and our relationship with God and how the written prayers of the Church offer us insight to who God is, and not who we’ve created Him to be… because the written prayers (and Psalms) give us the jargon that properly define Him.  It is also a guidepost that keeps us focused on where we want to go.

… and then I looked at the Lord’s Prayer, the prayer Jesus gave us.

The Our Father

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

This perfect prayer given by our Lord.    Matthew 6:9-13

And I remember what I was taught.  That in this prayer, Jesus gives us permission to relate with God as Father/Child. Never equals, but no longer as servants.  He opens a door to a more personal relationship.  Provider, protector, the perfect parent.

In this prayer we are reminded that God is sacred and even His name is holy.

We are instructed that our will should line up with God’s will, so that we might experience heaven on earth.  We are no longer separated from Him because we’ve invited Him into our awareness and our will.

We can only worry about this one day before us.  We can’t fret for tomorrow nor can we fill ourselves with regret or anger from our past.  Jesus wants us present in today.

But the key element to this prayer is that of forgiveness.   Jesus instructs us to ask for forgiveness and to forgive one another.   He even reiterates this in the verses that follow the prayer:  “14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

So what then is the main point of this sacred prayer?  Calling God father?  Asking for the day’s “daily bread?” Aligning our will to God’s?   All of these, but most importantly, it is forgiveness.  we must be able to acknowledge when we need to be forgiven and that we need to forgive.

We often talk about a Christian’s responsibility to be charitable, to attend the sacramental and prayer services.  A good Christian will read their Bible and say their prayers.  A successful Christian will be kind and even tempered, and an example of hospitality.   But more so, as defined in the prayer we attribute to Jesus’s actual word, a Christian MUST be forgiving, and not as much as we are forgiven by one another, but as much as we want to be forgiven by God.

Let forgiveness be our beacon in the days and nights ahead.


In Honor of Forgiveness

Psalm 130

From the depths, I have cried out to you, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplication.
If you, Lord, were to mark iniquities,
who, O Lord, shall stand?
For with you is forgiveness;
and because of your law, I stood by you, Lord.
My soul has stood by his word.
My soul has hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch, even until night,
let Israel hope in the Lord.
For with the Lord there is mercy,
and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities.

Have you ever stayed up, waiting for the sun to fill the earth with light as it rises?  There’s a sense of excitement.  Hope.  Newness.
Forgiveness is like that sweet joy you feel when you see the light fill the sky and you know there is a new day waiting for you.
Forgive.  Ask for forgiveness.
Don’t sit in the dark any longer than you have to.