Herald Journal Columns
May 29, 2006, Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

A closer look

Rev. Dan Swanson, First Baptist Church, Cokato

I watch with wonder as people refuse to forgive one another.

We, in our area, are quick to recite the Lord’s Prayer – “Forgive us our debts (trespasses) as we forgive those who are indebted (trespass) against us.” We would be remiss if we did not say those magic words; but, do we ever read the verses that immediately follow the words of this prayer?

Do we seriously look at the context of Matthew’s prayer from Jesus’ lips and wonder what these words have to do with anything?

Here they are, “For if you forgive others for their transgressions (apparently against you), your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But, if you do not forgive others, then your Heavenly Father will not forgive your transgressions (apparently against Him).” (Matthew 6:14,15)

It seems very clear that in order to receive the forgiveness for which we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, it is incumbent upon us to be quick to forgive other people when they transgress upon us.

Perhaps it’s time to begin to see that the spiritual life outlined in the Bible is one piece; there are no magic fixes for obtaining God’s gracious favor.

In our relationship with God, He has some expectations for our lives. For me to receive the exoneration of my sin, He expects me to be a forgiver and not hang on to all the things said to me or done to me.

Maybe it is time that we end the hostilities that exist within the Church of Jesus. We need to stop shooting our wounded. We need to let go of the things that hurt us, so that we can experience the joy of sin forgiven.

As Jesus was experiencing the pain of the process of crucifixion, He kept on saying, “Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

If the One we follow and pray to could forgive without anyone saying, “I’m sorry!,” then we who follow Him are called to do no less.

Let those things go. It is a Biblical prerequisite for experiencing the joy of forgiveness.

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