Exploring our struggle to forgive AS God forgives us.
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“and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.”
Matthew 6:12 New Living Translation
As. It’s such a tiny little word. A mere roll over the tongue. As…as…as. Now it has lost all meaning to us. I don’t remember if I heard it in a sermon, read it in a book somewhere, or if it was something that came to me once when reading this scripture, but for such a tiny little word it carries a mighty impact. Forgive us of our sins AS we forgive those who sin against us. WOW!
Praying the Lord’s Prayer and asking God to forgive us AS we forgive others puts us in a very precarious position. Do we really want God to forgive us to the same degree that we forgive others? That’s a scary thought! Imagine if God truly only forgave us with the same measure that we forgive others. Where would that leave us? Where does that leave me? This thought often occupies my thoughts when I pray this prayer now. Am I truly forgiving people? How much of their trespasses am I still holding onto?
Being the child of an alcoholic mother with an absentee father gives me plenty to hold onto. I’ve learned over the years that forgiveness is not really about the other person. It’s about me. My mom passed away when I was 29, before I truly came to Christ, so I never had the chance to forgive her in the traditional manner. I can never go to her and tell her face to face that I forgive her, but maybe that’s for the better.
Through my walk with Christ, I have learned that if I don’t forgive and let go, then it will become a root of bitterness inside of me and it will poison me from the inside out. This is why God asks us to forgive AS he forgives us. “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” –Psalm 103:12 Once He forgives our sins, it’s gone. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” –Hebrews 8:12
I am so thankful that God forgives and forgets my sins. I wish I could say the same. Often I remember how people have sinned against me. When this happens, I know this is the time to take it to God and have Him guide me through continued forgiveness and healing. I am so very thankful that I have a heavenly father that I can come to when I need healing and forgiveness.
How awesome it is that our God is so much more forgiving than we can ever be on this side of eternity. How amazing it is that even when we pray the “AS” in the Lord’s Prayer, God knows that we will never be able to meet the condition of that tiny little word, but that He is so much bigger than we are and will forgive us with the capacity of His love instead of our own flawed expression of love. On one final note: knowing that this simple 2 letter word carries so much weight, does it make you realize the importance of every single word in the Bible? It did for me.
Text Copyright Larissa Odell
Picture Copyright Douglas P Brauner