Advent Day 27 or 50: The Forgiveness Imperative
In the “Our Father” there are very few requests we have of God. We ask for our daily bread, forgiveness of our sins, to be spared from temptation and ultimately from evil. It’s a short list with huge demands. Of these, the forgiveness of sin stands out from all others because it is the only request that is conditional. As Jesus teaches the prayer, the words he uses are “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”
Our debts, or sins, are forgiven by the same standard upon which we forgive the debts, or sins, of others! In fact, this is such an important aspect of the Our Father prayer, that Jesus reinforces it with a statement following the prayer in verses 6:14-15: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Our sins are forgiven as we forgive others their sins. Forgive a person only half of their debt, be certain that God will forgive only half of your debts, or sins.
More important than figuring out percentages of sins and fractions of forgiveness, Jesus is asking us to take responsibility for harmony in the world.
The greatest obstacle to living a good, meaningful and fulfilling life is our sin. In the Church we define seven “deadly” sins: Pride, Anger, Envy, Greed, Lust, Gluttony and Sloth. Today, take a moment to identify the reasons and obstacles to living a godly, good life. You’ll find that one or several of these noted sins are at the root of your difficulties. You have it within you to be forgiven of your sins. The condition is singular, forgive others. In other words, Jesus asks us to live in harmony with everyone.
There is no one who does not sin. Only Jesus is sinless. As such, only Jesus has the right to judge others, but he chooses not to. Now the turn is our. Forgive.
Let us pray,
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.