Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen.
Read it again. I did miss something, you were right. What did I miss? This is an adaptation of the prayer Jesus taught his disciples and does a great job of framing the identity of God and places the disciple totally under the mercy of God, depending on him for everything. It’s a beautiful prayer.
But I missed a bit, didn’t I?
The eight line reads:
as we forgive those who sin against us
In the past I have often told people and been told by preachers that if they would believe that Jesus died and rose from the grave they would be forgiven. I was mistaken.
Jesus said nothing of the sort. You know what he did say?
Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. (Luke 6:37-38a)
Again, he said
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you (Matthew 6:14)
Or to flip the statement: If you don’t forgive others, God will not forgive you.
The currency of God’s economy is grace. The more we give away, the more God will pour it out into his people. There is no getting away from it. To me, this looks like a condition upon which forgiveness is granted. It reminds me of the covenants which God made with his people in days gone by. God would bless obedience, and disobedience he would punish.
This covenant which Christ wrought between God and Humanity works in a similar way. The more we love and serve, the more God shows us grace and mercy. If we withhold mercy, God will too. The more I forgive, the more God will forgive me. That’s hard to swallow.
Many theologies and teachings are built upon the presupposition that God’s forgiveness is freely given.
Jesus doesn’t seem to think so.
If I believe God gave himself to forgive us, how else could I respond to that than by giving myself to forgiving others? What would it matter if I believed the fact of the resurrection if I did not live it. I would be like a cashier who understood that a three dollar coffee paid for with a five would require two dollars in change, then decided I’d rather keep the two.
I’d lose my Starbucks job very quickly (Who else would charge 3 dollars for a coffee?).
The currency in God’s economy is forgiveness, and I am merely a debtor. God is my creditor and his expectation is that I would keep giving it away. It’s like, the moment I keep it to myself, God would demand his investment back.
May I never tell people anything but the truth from now on. The truth that if you want to be forgiven, there is no easy way. You must forgive. In the mean time I will try to do the same.
Maybe the measure of faith is not how much Bible one knows, but how much one has forgiven from their heart.