15. Forgive

The Lord's Prayer is divided into six couplets. The first teaches about God's nature. The second asks for his will to be done now. The third asks him to provide for our material needs. Now we are looking at the fourth couplet. It asks him to forgive our mistakes. The first line of the two is "and forgive us our debts," our trespasses.

There are several dynamics in this short phrase. The first is the admission that we need forgiving. The next is that God has the power to forgive. Also, it assumes God is inclined to forgive. Overall it is a confession that we are fallible. "Occasionally" we have made some noticeable mistakes.

The petition for forgiveness ties to Jesus' Beatitudes. It relates to most of them. For us to admit faults and ask for forgiveness, the key Beatitude attitudes must be felt. To ask for forgiveness, one would be poor in spirit, mourning, meek, searching for righteousness, merciful, seeking purity of heart and also wanting to be a peacemaker.

Of course, asking for forgiveness can be done from the fear of expected or deserved divine punishment. However, the prayer doesn't require a particular motive. It just requests God to forgive our mistakes. The fact that we ask God for forgiveness acknowledges his power and primacy.

On a more general basis, here we acknowledge that there is some proper order for all of us. The prayer says, "forgive us our debts." The plural pronoun of us implies that all people have fallen short of God's requirements. All are in the same boat.

We have a commonality as humans standing before God. None of us is better than another. If we all have fallen short of God's requirements and need his forgiveness, what are our shortcomings? Do you know yours?

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