How To Forgive

In the first volume of his commentary on the Gospel of Matthew regarding chapter 6:12, 14-15, William Barclay wrote,  “”Of all petitions of the Lord’s Prayer this is the most frightening, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”  The literal meaning is: “Forgive our sins in proportion as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.”  Matthew goes on in verses 14 and 15 to make that quite clear by showing us that Jesus says in the plainest possible language that if we forgive others, God will forgive us; but if we refuse to forgive others, God will refuse to forgive us…To be forgiven we must forgive, and that is a condition of forgiveness which only the power of Christ can enable us to fulfill.””

In 2 Peter 1:3, the apostle wrote,  “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness, through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

Perhaps I did wisely counsel the young woman I wrote of yesterday.   I pray that God will match her desire to obey with his power to forgive,  his power at work within her.  I pray that, like the other woman I wrote of yesterday, she will experience healing that enables her to lay hold of God’s power to forgive.

I wonder if the healing we need, before we are able to forgive others, is really an answer to the question: “Where was God?”  Where was He when we were hurt or injured or abused.   Matt Maher sings, You Were On The Cross.  That is his answer to this crucial question.  God the Son, The Lamb of God was on the cross dying for my sins and the sins of the one who sinned against me.  We are all sinners in need of salvation.  The soul who sins, dies.  In that context, although there are sins that are more horrible than other sins, the playing field at the foot of the cross is level.

How do we forgive?  How can we describe the work of God’s spirit within us – the movement of our souls toward him and his kingdom.   We stand at the foot of the cross and weep over our own sin – the sin that nailed our Savior to that tree.  As we gaze at that Love, we are changed.  He changes us.   We even extend mercy to  those we believed we would never be able to forgive.

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