Matthew 6:9–15 Pray then like this: 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 also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Do these two lines line up with each other in your life? Many times I have people say to me, oh I forgive such and such but my heart remains angry and I don't want to be around them. Many remain resentful of the other person or institution. Still wanting to hear the story that I was right after all; I still wanted to hear apologies and excuses; I still wanted the satisfaction of receiving some praise in return—if only the praise for being so forgiving! For many Christians, our forgiveness does not reflect or parallel Divine forgiveness, and Satan is thrilled. For he knows that we will not move forward in Christ if we simply mouth the words of forgiveness and not live them.
Folks, God’s forgiveness is unconditional; it does not demand anything of itself. It is a heart that is empty of self-seeking. It calls me to keep stepping over all my arguments that say forgiveness is unwise, unhealthy, and impractical. ( Satan is clapping) It challenges me to step over all my needs for gratitude and compliments and simply do it for the betterment of my own soul. Finally, it demands of me that I step over that wounded part of my heart that feels hurt and wronged and that wants to stay in control and put a few conditions between me and the one whom I must forgive. Knowing I am a child of God makes this deep forgiveness doable.
So does your forgiveness line up with the Word of God? We are all a work in process. See you later this morning.
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Meet the pastor
Rev. Pastor Carl Schreiber has been serving East Orrington Congregational Church (EOCC) since March 12, 2006