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It is to Forgive…
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15). These two verses follow the passage where Jesus gives us the Lord’s Prayer. It is clear that Jesus means that forgiveness is the centerpiece of our faith. It is in forgiving that we imitate Jesus most profoundly and most sincerely. After all, it is the reason for the Incarnation. It is the means of our salvation. Forgiveness is not easy. In fact, it is one of the most difficult things we can do, but it is the most effective form of love that we can participate in in this life. The English writer, Alexander Pope’s famous heroic couplet is instructive here. “To err is human; to forgive divine. The universal truth about us as human beings is that we are all prone to err, to making mistakes of judgment, in word and deed. This is especially painful when we err in our moral words and actions toward others. We do this sometimes out of ignorance, but often out of arrogance, or self-centeredness. And all of us have been on the receiving end of such mistakes, or of conscious injuries. It is this latter experience that Jesus is getting us to reflect on here. In the prayer that Jesus gave us we see the following words: “And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors” (verse 12). The key word in the phrase is “as.” In verse 14 Jesus is giving us the positive moral obligation in a very clear and direct manner. “Forgive others their sins and your heavenly Father will forgive you.” Then he gives us the other side of this…