The other day I was thinking of the passage in Luke 11 where Jesus prayed. When he finished praying, one of his disciples asked for Jesus to teach them how to pray. So Jesus responded, “When you pray, say this,” and he recites the Lord’s Prayer. I thought it might be fun to come up with my own prayer using the main ideas from each line. So I tried it out, paraphrasing the concepts to learn better how to pray. But I stopped when I came to this line:
“Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us” (Luke 11:4, NLT).
A thought suddenly came to me - what if God had not given us the gift of Jesus, who died to forgive us of all of our sins? What if, each day, we were only forgiven as many times as we forgave others? Harsh reality! I am just thankful that the Lord’s forgiveness is not limited to my acts of grace.
Nearly each Saturday, Kevin and I have the same little “spat.” Kevin wakes up bright and early and is ready to tackle his “Honey-Do List.” I wake up and want Kevin to make up for all the hours he missed out with our little girl during the week but was at work. We say the same words, playing the same cards in our pile of trumps, and always conclude the “discussion” the same way, with a frustrating draw. Kevin resenting the fact that at the end of the weekend there will still be things that need to be done, and only he can do them, and me begrudgingly realizing there aren't enough hours in the day to spend together as a family.
But what about forgiveness; what if at the end of the day God only forgave me of my transgressions as long as I had practiced mercy to others? I certainly didn't apologize and neither did Kevin, our stubbornness adding to our pile of stresses (let’s face it, life here isn't easy). There are many adages and sayings about people wishing they had just one more day or if they had just said sorry or if they could have done things differently. Maybe we should practice more clemency and hold less grudges. Maybe we should open our hearts to generosity and let in the Lord’s will for our lives instead of holding onto our own.
“The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no partiality and is always sincere.” (James 3:17, NLT).