READ : Matthew 6:12, 14-15
In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus teaches us to ask for forgiveness. At the end of the prayer, he tells us to offer forgiveness to others. In both places, he connects our receiving forgiveness with our readiness to extend it to those who have wronged us.
It is easy to ask God for forgiveness. It is very hard to give it to others. Yet give it we must. Jesus knew that I can never truly experience the mercy of God for myself unless I am also merciful toward others. You can no more get forgiveness without giving it than you can breathe in without breathing out!
Corrie Ten Boom, imprisoned by the Nazis for hiding Jews, was approached by a man after the war. She immediately recognized him as one of the cruel guards from her concentration camp. He said, “I am a Christian now. I ask you to forgive me.” Then he extended his hand. Forgive him? The man who had tormented her and had helped to kill her sister! For a moment Corrie froze. Then she prayed, “Lord, I can’t forgive this man, but I know I must. Help me!” At that instant she felt a power begin to move her arm toward the man, and when their hands clasped, Corrie knew that God had worked a miracle in her.
If God could help Corrie Ten Boom to forgive, couldn’t he do the same for you?
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.