Saturday we looked at vv. 11 & 12 in the Lord’s Prayer. There are two parts of the prayer that we focused on this week. Receiving our “daily bread” from God and receiving and giving forgiveness on a daily (or almost daily) basis.
Regarding “daily bread”, we acknowledged that as spiritual as the Lord’s Prayer is it is also a prayer about our physical earthly realm along with the heavenly one. We pray for God’s Kingdom to come on earth down here in the midst of all human mess. In addition, we pray for our “daily bread” which is the stuff that we need, every day, to get by. This includes food, water, shelter, friendship, clothing, work to do, and, dare I say, the money with which we obtain these.
When we pray for our “daily bread” we are acknowledging that we don’t have spiritual lives. Instead, we have lives that include physical and spiritual dimensions, each inseparable, with influence on the other.
There are two ideas (and two questions) we need to be reminded of when it comes to “forgive us our trespasses” and the passages (vv. 14-15) about how our forgiveness is based upon our forgiveness of others.
1) What do you think of the idea that we need forgiven (and we need to forgive) daily? This concept is important because it reminds us that we do in fact sin, even if God no longer counts that sin against us. The workaday results of that sin abound and seeking and receiving forgiveness deals with that sin both clearly and graciously.
2) Do you think it’s true that God takes forgiveness away if we don’t forgive? This is a troubling thought but I believe it is important to wrestle with. Rather than looking at this as a statement of God’s punishment upon those who refuse to forgive I wonder if it isn’t a description of how life works in God’s world. Refusing to forgive results in one closing oneself off from God who is the source of forgiveness.
We don’t forgive one another through our effort alone. Instead, we forgive by participating in God’s life (receiving forgiveness from Him, enjoying his love and grace) and receiving the empowerment to forgive. Knowing that we approach one another through God’s Spirit allows us to consciously draw upon the forgiving nature of God to change us and the relationships we are a part of.
One final question: Whom do you need to forgive?