Matthew 6:12 -- Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
In one of my favorite hymns, the first line is “Lord, I want to be a Christian in my heart,” and the fourth line is “Lord, I want to be like Jesus in my heart.” Those are both wonderful thoughts and I do very much want to do that, but without help and guidance, we may not know how to do that.
The wonderful news for us is that in the Four Gospels, Jesus told us many times how we may be like him and be more Christian in our daily life.
One very important, if not the most important, way to do that (one that Jesus talked about many times with his followers) is forgiveness.
Jewish law required that they forgive a person three times. In Matthew, when Peter bragged that he would forgive not three times but seven, Jesus said to him “not seven times but seventy times seven.” Poor Peter must have been dumbfounded, but I do not think that Jesus meant 490 times literally; I think that he meant an infinite number of times, or as many as it takes.
Some other times are as follows: from Luke 6:37: “Forgive others and you will be forgiven;” from Matthew 6:12: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;” and of course from the cross in Luke 23:34: “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.”
Others may not even know that we offer them forgiveness. They may not even still be here on planet Earth. That is alright, because we offer forgiveness for our freedom, to free our heart and our soul from the darkness that comes from not being willing to forgive. It certainly does not mean that we think their actions were acceptable, simply that we are no longer willing to carry that burden.
Fortunately for me, I do not have to worry that my human self is not able to forgive or even knows how to forgive. I do have to be willing to forgive, ask God’s help, and let God’s love work through me to forgive all past hurts.
Thought for today: I am willing to forgive anyone I feel may have harmed me.