FROM MY HEART TO YOURS
In the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples, he says we should ask for forgiveness in this way: “And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us!” (Matthew 6:12) As I sit here, thinking and writing, I wonder: “Is it wise to pray in this way?” It must be, or the Lord wouldn’t instruct us in that way; and yet, do we think of all the implications of his request, when we pray in that way? Probably not, if we did, we’d most likely bite our tongues.
Forgiveness may be the absolute most important factor in our relationships; not only our relationship with God, but our relationships with all others as well. Not only can we destroy others by the things that we do out of a bitter spirit; but we can destroy ourselves as well, in regard to effective prayer, effective witnessing, and effective works that we endeavor to do for the sake of God and His Kingdom. Not only those things I mentioned; but inside our beings as well, we can render ourselves hateful; bitter, unhappy, and just plain worthless in regard to service for the sake of Christ and His Gospel.
Years ago I worked with a man who was, in my opinion at least, “bucking” for a boss’s job. Consequently, I despised him. I despised his methods, his snitching, and his (at least, once again in my opinion) constant criticism of all who worked with him. Well, he was made chief operator at the water treatment plant where we worked; and I was devastated. I literally hated him! However, God began to work on my heart, and I prayed that God would help me to get past my hatred, and, that I’d be able to work with, and get along with my new boss. Guess what? He turned out to be the most fair; the most considerate; and the absolute best boss I ever had. We never became bosom buddies, but we had a respect for one another that enabled us to work together for a number of years. He taught me a lot; and later on, when I became a water plant manager myself, I often emulated his example in dealing with those under me.
So, friends and neighbors; sisters and brothers, think of the implications of the phrase: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us!” It just may be the one thing most needed in your life, as it was, and still is, in mine.
With love in Christ for all, a sinner saved by grace,