Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Re-Examination

A few months ago at our "Worship Band Meeting" we were looking at prayer and how to pray. One of the exercises we did was to pray through the "Lords Prayer". It is a pretty familiar passage...

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.


That is the version that I learned, from the King James... If you are from different church traditions, the words "debt" may be replaced with "trespasses" and "our debtors" with "those that tresspass against us".

As we were sitting there, I focused in on the phase (this time from the New International Version). "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." and thought if this means the way it reads, I sometimes don't deserve much forgiveness. Then, I wrestled with this until now because obviously it doesn't mean that we receive only as much forgiveness as I am willing to give... Does it?

Well one of the problems with Bible passages like this is that we take them out of context quite often. Last week, I read through Matthew 18:23-33 (The Message) which tells the story of a guy who owes a lot of money to the bank on his car, a Hummer (my version, not the literal translation). When the bank comes to reposess his car, he begs and pleads and the banker decides not to take the car and also give hime more time to pay up. The man, however, remembers his neighbor borrowed his table saw and tool set. When the neighbor would not return the items, took him to small claims court. When the banker heard about it, he returned scolded the guy and had his wages garnished and took his car.

Oddly enough, that sounds just like I need to forgive the things people do to me if I should expect to be forgiven by God.

Today, I read the passage that contains the the Lord's Prayer.... Matthew 6:9-15 (NIV) and saw verse 15 which reads: "But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

Looks like I have my work cut out for me....

4 comments:

Donna said...

Ouch, I have much work cut out for me too - yet another answer to my brain's flailings...thanks for this pertinent post.

Scott said...

I hope this does not come across as a feable attempt at a technical out, but . . .

If 'not forgiving someone' is a sin, then it has been forgiven by the work of Jesus on the cross.

Col 2:13

13 And you who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (your sensuality, your sinful carnal nature), [God] brought to life together with [Christ], having [freely] forgiven us all our transgressions,
AMP


Let me offer this thought:
When one of my girls doesn't forgive the other I guide/discipline her, which,from her view, might seem like I'm not forgiving her to the extend she has not forgiven. From my point of view she is forgiven and loved just the same.

It might be this way with our heavenly father.

Joel Frederick said...

Scott,

That is one of the reasons I was wrestling with this myself!

Scott said...

The longer I follow Jesus, and the deeper I dig into his revelation the more he tweaks with my mind. Ah the good ol' days when everything was black and white in my mind. God continues to become a bigger mystery to me and I love him for that.