And forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us. (NLT)
Jesus figured that forgiveness was important enough to include in his model prayer. It is important because it is the basis on which we can relate to God and enjoy him now and always. If God didn’t forgive those who asked for his mercy then there would be no hope for any of us.
If God forgiving us is the key to right relationship between him and us, then our forgiving others is the key to healthy relationships with one another. Because we are not always very good at loving each other, we need to become pretty good at forgiving one another. Imperfect human beings can wound one another.
When I forgive someone I am not excusing their conduct or going all soft on their wrongdoing. God, after all, doesn’t act like that to us. I am rather choosing not to hold that offence against that person. I choose not to hit back and get equal. Forgiveness is quite compatible with deciding to have little or nothing to do with the offender. It is not in opposition to letting the law take its course where criminality is involved.
When I forgive, I set myself free from being ‘the offended one’, the pathetic victim. I cut the negative, perhaps hateful tie to that other person. It takes time, involves pain and doesn’t come easily. Forgiveness is not forgetting; it is remembering without the crushing burden of wanting to get even.
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