Most of the time when we think of forgiveness we think of God forgiving us. However, at the end of what we know as the Lord’s Prayer Jesus gave the people he was speaking to this teaching about forgiving others. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15 RSV).
The need for forgiveness among people comes from us having to live as imperfect people in a fallen world. Fortunately, Jesus gave us two commandments that form the basis of right-minded forgiveness. Love God with all our being and love everyone—including ourselves. Forgiveness should be based on love not on a desire to get right with God by obeying a commandment. Also, I think Jesus had in mind that our love should be as clear-sighted as his and not fogged by cultural constructs. Be that as it may, commandments are always impossible for us to completely obey. This brings us to how we go about the matter of forgiveness.
To be able to truly forgive others, and ourselves when we fail to do what is right, we must ask God to grant us the ability to love in a way that exceeds our present capacity. We need from the Holy Spirit a filling of love so we can forgive others and ourselves not on the basis of their or our righteousness but because we have been enabled to have in us more of God’s love
I also believe following the guidance of the Lord’s Prayer keeps us from asking God for mercy and refusing to grant it to others.
7 thoughts on “What I Believe: Forgiveness”
Hi Walt. I found an excellent resource on the subject of forgiveness. It’s something that a friend of mine produced. It’s a paper that looks at the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35) and how Jesus’ teaching in this parable holds the key for us to be able to forgive others. I made the paper available as a free download from my blog, so if you’re interested, you can find it at http://www.perfectchaos.org/essays (just scroll down the page a little). Blessings, Steven 🙏🏻
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Thanks for your responses to my post on forgiveness. The topics for my What I Believe series came for the outline of a doctrinal statement a man in our church submitted to show himself ready for ordination. The opinions expressed, however, are my own. I arrived at them after receiving a Masters degree in Christian Studies and years of Bible reading, study and leading study groups. My opinions are subject to revision since I probably did not get everything right that I wrote. I hope my series will be helpful in what it is you are doing.
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