Wednesday, October 2, 2019
“Pray then in this way… And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors… for if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your father forgive your trespasses.” [Matthew 6:9a, 12, 14-15]
In the Gospel of Matthew there is an addendum to the second petition and it certainly sounds conditional. We hear the big “if.” If we forgive others, then and only then will God forgive us. This addendum might even cause us to conclude that if we hold a grudge against someone else, God will hold a grudge against us. Yet, isn’t this contrary to the gift of grace freely offered by God? Could it be that the gospel writer is suggesting that it should be unthinkable for someone to ask for forgiveness, if they are unwilling to forgive others? Our relationship with God affects our relationships with others. Received grace comes with a responsibility. Grace calls us and then equips us to forgive others. What I have come to understand through this addendum is that if we are unable to forgive others, then we will not be able to fully receive God’s grace. Unforgiven, we are unable to forgive. We are held hostage to the grudges and resentments we hold and harbor. Imagine letting go of these things, allowing God to create in you a new and right spirit.
Forgiving God, you know my heart. You know the grudges and the resentments that hold me hostage. Help me to release them into your hands. Equip me to learn the art of forgiveness, so that I can freely accept the abundance of your grace for my life. Amen.