26 Jul 2019 | Posted by: chadmin
This weekend, the Church gives us the passage of the Lord’s Prayer for reflection. The prayer is called the “Lord’s Prayer” as it was spoken by Jesus in response to a request to teach on prayer. “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed by your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.” The words of the Lord’s Prayer in each of the Gospels vary a bit, but the essential petitions are the same. The prayer names God as Father, recognizes God as Holy, petitions God for daily sustenance, asks for forgiveness and protection from evil. The prayer invites us to put our priorities in order. Each of the Gospels that record the Lord’s Prayer, follow the prayer with a parable or story from Jesus. These parables also differ in what Jesus emphasizes between the Gospels. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus emphasizes persistence in prayer and in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus emphasizes forgiveness. With the amount of towns and places that Jesus visited, who knows how many times he taught this prayer to different groups of people. These differing accounts are thus understandable.
One of these most challenging aspects of human life is addressed in the Lord’s Prayer: the process of forgiveness. As we pray for God to forgive us our debts or trespasses as we forgive those in debt to us or who have trespassed against us, we make a deal with God about forgiveness. We can’t ask God to set us free if we aren’t willing to set others free. We can’t expect forgiveness if we won’t forgive others. The reality is that when we fail to forgive, we remain bound to the sin of another. When we allow ourselves to be stuck to the sin of others through unforgiveness, we allow ourselves to be controlled by others. Forgiveness is freedom. Forgiveness is an act of the will that sets from others. Forgiveness doesn’t mean the sin didn’t happen it is a moving away from the sin. Unforgiveness invites anger, revenge, retaliation, shame, and thoughts that keep the hurt alive in our minds and hearts. God knows that the only way our hearts are in a position to receive forgiveness from Him, is if we experience and live forgiveness for those who have directly offended us. As we honor God with the Lord’s Prayer, we name His glory and seek the forgiveness that only God can give. We recognize the teaching of Jesus that experiencing the freedom of forgiveness requires we ask God for it while forgiving those we need to forgive. Our great cooperation with God’s grace is the process of forgiveness. May we never tire or fear the process of asking God for forgiveness or forgiving those who have deeply hurt us.