Forgive Us Our Trespasses - Midweek Lenten Reflection March 21

Forgive Us Our Trespasses - Midweek Lenten Reflection March 21

Forgive us our Trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us

As we have gone through these petitions of Lord’s prayer, I hope that you have noticed that as much as our Lord Jesus is teaching how to turn to and ask our Heavenly Father for that which we need – the prayer it self is a teaching tool. It both tells us what to do – but also reminds us and teaches us both who we are and who our Father in heaven is.

What we hear in this petition tonight is that we are people who are in need of forgiveness, that we are forgiven by our Heavenly Father when we turn to him – and like wise we are called to be people who forgive.

Let me take these in parts here: First we are in need of forgiveness. I read an article in the New York Times today by David Brooks. He was responding to the shock people have over Sgt. Robert Bales massacre of 16 people in Afghanistan. Brooks – to my surprise – takes the position that the problem is sin. That we all have the propensity for both great good and at the same time astonishing evil. He is repeating the churches position of the last 2000 years. Basically his point was that – this Marine Sgt, wasn’t a monster – he was an ordinarily good man – who fell into sin and evil – and all of us are capable of that. I loved the article I sent Mr. Brooks and email telling him how much I enjoyed it.

But what fascinated me about the article was the reader responses on the webpage. People were vehement that David Brooks was crazy. We are not like that guy. I would never do that, he is a monster. Or if you get to the heart of what all these people were really saying “I’m a better person than that murderer is”. These were heated responses – over 300 of them – all denying that they could ever do something like that. I will share with you that in my years of doing counseling – I have often noted that when something gets a fiery response – you are usually near the mark.

He is absolutely right. We are sinners. We did not massacre those people – but we have to understand – It is but by the grace of God that we don’t. It is only God’s grace that keeps us and this entire world from turning into a pack of wild animals that are ready to devour each other. Sin is rampant and alive and the only antidote for it – the only thing that can push back the darkness is the light and power of God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

David Brooks article only missed the mark a little bit. Instead of saying that the problem was sin. He should have said the problem is sin – and most of the people in this world don’t even realize how close that darkness is to them. They don’t realize how much they need the healing power of Jesus. They don’t understand that they are lost with their eyes closed in the darkness, unless they are forgiven by the mercy of God – the only one who can bring the light because he is the light.

So the first part of this petition is saying – “God Forgive Us Our Trespasses” is helping us to remember that we need forgiveness. We need the only one who can make us whole to act and to move and to clean our lives and to SAVE US. If you don’t know you are a sinner, you don’t know you need to be forgiven, if you don’t know you need to be forgiven you don’t know you need to be saved, if you don’t know you need to be saved – then the devil is chuckling and loving the blinders that are over your eyes.

When we call out for our Father to Save us we are calling out to God saying that we need you. Father we can’t do it on our own. I am dead without you Great and Powerful God and Lord Jesus who has done so much to save me. And I need you Jesus Christ to wash me in your precious blood, to keep me in your grace, to hold me – I need you to do it Jesus – because I cannot and will not do it without you. Because I am a slave to sin and only you free me. Please Jesus Christ – Forgive Me of my sins – Make me Clean – Make me Whole.

When we call out for forgiveness we are calling out and claiming – and be reassured that life has come to us that we are forgiven.

The second part of this petition “As we forgiven those who trespass/who sin against us”. This does not mean Lord only forgive us as we forgive others. It means that you forgive me Lord God, Heavenly Father – I know that. You have made me clean you wash my sins away. Therefore – I have no business holding on to my grudges, my hurts, the ways that I might have been offended. I don’t get the prerogative to hold evil over people.

I don’t get that prerogative because you have not held my evil against me. It doesn’t matter what anyone has done to me. This is a big statement everyone but it is true. IT MATTERS NOT WHAT EVIL HAS BEEN DONE TO ME – WHAT OFFENSE HAS BEEN DONE. If you have been really hurt this might be a hard thing to hear. But no matter how someone has sinned against you – God has taken more abuse from you, from this world, from this creation he came to save that tried to brutally kill him. God has seen worse evil at our hands than we will ever see at the hands of others.

Therefore – as hard as it may be – we are called to be people of forgiveness. As the crucified Jesus he prayed for those for God’s forgiveness on those who drove the nails in his hands and spit at him. Jesus forgives – we are called to forgive too.

If that sounds hard – remember that as we are called to forgive and to be people of forgiveness – Christ is with us. The Holy Spirit is with us. Christ is helping us to understand that as we become people who forgive – that what we are really doing is commending these people – even our enemies – into his hands. We are realizing when we forgive that Jesus will make it right. Maybe not in this world, but in the next. When we forgive – we are letting go of the evil – we are letting Jesus be in control.

That might stir some things up for some of you. But just know that to forgive is not to forget. To forgive is not to tolerate evil. To forgive is to recognize evil for what it is – it is sin and brokenness. And there is only one cure – Jesus Christ our Lord.

We are called to him, to trust in him. To seek mercy from him – and to show mercy – because of him
Thanks Be to God.

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