Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
Luke 11: 4 (NIV)
This is a tough bit of prayer. Extending forgiveness is so difficult. I would rather this verse say: "Forgive us our unforgiveness." Period. End of prayer.
- What if the offender never asks to be forgiven?
- What if what the offender did can ever be repaired?
- What if the offender lives a life of freedom while the offended live in bondage to the damage inflicted by the offender?
How does one exercise forgiveness in the above scenarios? Does God hold the offended one responsible while he lives through the consequences of the offender's offensiveness?
These are questions I wrestle with. Here's C.S. Lewis's answer to the question:
"We believe that God forgives us our sins; but also that He will not do so unless we forgive other people their sins against us. There is no doubt about the second part of this statement. It is in the Lord's Prayer, it was emphatically stated by our Lord. If you don't forgive you will not be forgiven. No exceptions to it. He doesn't say that we are to forgive other people's sins, provided they are not too frightful, or provided there are extenuating circumstances, or anything of that sort. We are to forgive them all, however spiteful, however mean, however often they are repeated. If we don't we shall be forgiven none of our own."
Please, define forgiveness.
@Jim: we should talk about this over coffee. Your turn to buy.
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