Another timely word from Lori:
As I continue to pray through parts of the Lord’s Prayer, I am on, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The word trespass doesn’t have much meaning to me. It’s not a word I use. But then I thought of how some say, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Now we’re talking my language. As an accountant, and an American, I am very familiar with this word.
What are debts? They are something you owe. Do I have any? You bet. House payment, car payment… But what do I owe God? Well God tells us that sin has a price. When we sin, there are consequences, punishment. But if we ask God to forgive our sins, He does. Immediately and completely. It’s as if we never sinned. He no longer holds it against us. How amazing! No wonder the Gospel is called the Good News!
And since God has forgiven us, he commands us to forgive others. That makes sense, right? I mean it’s only fair. How can I keep remembering & bringing up someone else’s sins against me (talking behind my back, spreading lies about me, being mean to me) when God doesn’t do that to me?
And the only way I’m even able to begin to do that is through God’s power. In my flesh I want to simmer in it, keep playing it over & over again in my mind, and punish the person. But I’m so thankful that I don’t have to live in the flesh. But please know that it’s never easy.
Wanna know what I usually do? First I ask God to give me the desire to forgive someone. Once I want to, it seems like most of the battle has been won. But then you know how, a week or two later the other person’s sin creeps back into your mind? That’s when you have a decision to make. Am I going to rehash the whole thing in my mind, or am I going to stop it in its tracks? To me, the first is much more satisfying in the short term. But we know it leads to destructive thinking & it’s not right. When that happens, I ask God to take it from my mind and let me never remember it again. I’m embarrassed to say that I’m always amazed when He does. Wish I had more faith.
OK, back to “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” There’s a word that really hit me, and that word is “as”. It stopped me in my tracks. Forgive me AS I forgive others?!? So my forgiveness is tied my forgiving others. Never thought of it that way. I knew it was important to keep my accounts short with God, but I now know how important staying in right fellowship with others is.
God was teaching me the same lesson which I tried to portray in this layout. The journaling (bottom left) reads:
Woke up and someone who had ‘wronged’ me came to mind. Thought I’d dealt with it. But if I had, why did my teeth clench at the thought of the guy? So I started praying asking for help — I wanted to forgive. Really forgive, the way he does.
Then it occurred to me. When Jesus died, he paid for my sins. Yeah, knew that. And he died for the sins of the world. Yeah, knew that. But I hadn’t extrapolated. That means that it’s the same for him as it is for me: His debts for his sins have been paid in full. Just like mine.
Grew up singing a song, “I owed a debt I could not pay. He paid a debt he did not owe. I needed someone to wash my sins away. And now I sing a brand new song, amazing grace. Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.
There are tons of other things involved in relational forgiveness: restitution, restoration of relationship, etc., for starters. But at least I can remember this: his debt is paid in full — by the same guy who paid mine. It’s helping. I’m so glad. The burden of unforgiveness is not one we’re meant to bear. I know that, and I’ve been struggling so hard with the whole thing.
Thx God for waking me this morning (@ 4:45 a.m.) and showing me a bit more what it means to forgive. Help me get to the place where I can learn from you more in the daytime too! LOL Thx for not being limited by me.
For more of the texts in this layout and the credits go here .
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