“Forgive Us!” This ancient cry of the Christian to a merciful God echos back thousands of years into the Psalms. I don’t know of anyone who has a problem asking for God’s forgiveness and mercy. Well, unless that person rejects, God. That is a topic for a different post.
Today we’re talking about the 5th petition. In it you’ll find a cry out to God for forgiveness. The problem that some people have with this petition is that it can sound as though we are basing our worthiness for forgiveness on our own performance – that is, how forgiving we are.
That is a terrifying thought! I don’t know about you, but I am not always quick on the absolution. Sometimes, I think, I’ll just wait a minute… and let the person suffer. That’s perverse and not what our God does. In the parable of the unmerciful servant he shows us how quick to forgive and how large the debt truly is. It can be helpful to step back and consider how we have offended our God. Everything thought, word, and deed that crosses the line of God’s holy will is a sin. For every little transgression we deserve to be condemned. Our God does the exact opposite. He is quick to show mercy! Compared to our offenses to God, the ways that our neighbor harms us are little. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist. The parable is an argument from the greater to the lesser. If God can forgive our debt the size of a house, why do we struggle to release the debt our neighbor owes us the size of a mailbox? It’s a testament to our God’s goodness and our weakness. This is pointed and powerful petition. Forgive us!
Please click HERE for the Bible class slides.
Want to hear more? Watch this Sunday’s Bible study in our series on the Lord’s Prayer.