And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matthew 6:12)
Someone has defined forgiveness as “the refusal on God’s part to let our guilty past affect His relationship with us.” David wrote that God has removed our sin from us as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12). Without forgiveness we could not have a relationship with a holy and righteous God. It is also important to note, however, that without forgiveness, we cannot have relationship with brothers and sisters in the church either.
Pray today that as individuals and a church, we would not forget the depths of our sin and the cost of our forgiveness. Pray that our interactions with each other and those in the community would begin with a knowledge of our own sinfulness and a willingness to forgive as we have been forgiven.
If my sinfulness appears to me to be in any way smaller or less detestable in comparison with the sins of others, I am still not recognizing my sinfulness at all. … How can I possibly serve another person in unfeigned humility if I seriously regard his sinfulness as worse than my own? (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together)
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. (1 Timothy 1:15, NIV)
Pray also that we would be willing to do the hard work of forgiveness—that we would not allow pride, laziness, or anything else stand in the way of forgiving one another.
Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’ (Matthew 18:21-22)
There is no use in talking as if forgiveness were easy. … For we find that the work of forgiveness has to be done over and over again. We forgive, we mortify our resentment; a week later some chain of thought carries us back to the original offence and we discover the old resentment blazing away as if nothing had been done about it at all. We need to forgive our brother seventy times seven not only for 490 offences but for one offence. (C. S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms)
Pray that we would be people and a church who not only accept God’s forgiveness but freely offer it to others—that we would know God’s forgiveness to the point that we cannot help but to live it out.