“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”
Some things to think about:
Here’s a startling even troubling truth: our relationship with God is conditioned on our relationship with other people. We are invited to bring our sins before Jesus. When we confess them he forgives us freely (I John 1:9). But there is a caveat. That grace coming to us is contingent on our willingness to extend grace to those who have wronged us. Now forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a covenant choice. In forgiveness we release to God the pain and ask him to be the instrument of justice. This is a legal matter, like “dropping charges” against a guilty party. God has done this to us (grace) and he simply asks the same of us. It’s a powerful principle. This week we receive and extend grace. And the process changes us and our world forever!
Some things to do:
It’s time to be graceful. We need to be forgiven. Surely we know this. Any honest look inside will reveal all manner of trouble. We’re impatient, suspicious, jealous, angry. We need to be released of the guilt and power of these sins. And we can be when we ask. But we also must extend grace. This week we will begin to allow grace to flow through us so that it might come to us. Here’s a pattern for prayer in this way.
Pray that God will reveal to you any unconfessed sin (Ps. 139:23)
Pray that God will cover this sin under Jesus’ blood (Rom. 3:25)
Pray that God will reveal any harbored unforgiveness (Matt. 6:14)
Allow Jesus to carry this hurt in your place (Is. 53:4)
Ask that God will bless this one as he sees fit (Matt. 5:44)
Some things to talk about:
What are some thing God has forgiven you for? How hard is it to ask for his forgiveness? Can you believe that he can really do it? Can you forgive yourself? How about what others have done to you or to others you love? What does it mean to “forgive” them when your emotions can’t change?