After we ponder our daily needs (see previous post), we then must ask for forgiveness of our wrongdoings. This is a natural flow, as thinking about our daily needs opens our eyes to our dependence on God and others. We can now think about our trespasses, our debts, our sins.
Matthew writes this part of the Lord’s Prayer this way “…and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (6:9-13). Luke writes “…and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us” (11:2-4). Either way, the key message is the same: forgiveness with God and one another makes us truly whole and well.
The prayer challenges us to embrace all aspects of forgiveness, showing impartiality to the grievousness of individual wrongdoings. Endlessly we should give, receive, and accept forgiveness. Sometimes we find ourselves doing one of these aspects and not the others, however we should pray and strive to do all three: give, receive, and accept foregiveness.
In the gospel of Matthew, right after sharing the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
Jesus hearkens us back to earth. Forgiveness begins here and now. With one another. By confessing our shortfalls to one another we make amends and pursue right relationships with one another. And when we do this we bring about the Kingdom of God.