“A neighbor stopped by the other day,” Stan commented. “He was asking about something he had read in the Bible. He wondered if he should be concerned about it.”
“Wondering if he should be concerned about something in the Bible?” I replied. “Isn’t there a lot of stuff in the Bible that all of us should be concerned about?”
Stan laughed and said, “You just summarized the whole of Christianity with one question!”
“Yeah,” he continued, “there are a lot of things in the Bible we should be concerned about. My neighbor was specifically wondering about something Jesus said when He was teaching His disciples how to pray.”
“In what’s called ‘The Lord’s Prayer’?” I asked.
“That’s it,” Stan said. “Some people call it ‘The Disciples’ Prayer’ and some people call it ‘The Our Father,’ or something else, but, yeah, that’s it.”
“What was your neighbor focusing on?”
“The part where Jesus said to pray to the Father in heaven to be forgiven as we forgive,” Stan said.
“Oh,” I replied. “Was your neighbor concerned that he might not be forgiven unless he forgives others?”
“That’s it, in a nutshell,” Stan said.
“Did you have an answer of him?”
“I did,” Stan replied. “I told him I think that forgiveness is a really big subject and that it is a legitimate concern. I also told him that I think the best way to get around that concern is to forgive others just as we have been forgiven!”
“Just as we have been forgiven,” I repeated. “I suppose people can best do that if they look at every situation that requires forgiveness and ask themselves, ‘How have I been forgiven?’ And then do the same.”
“That, my friend,” Stan replied, “is a good supposition!”
Bible verses to consider:
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Matthew 6:12.
For it you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, your Father will not forgive your transgressions. Matthew 6:14-15.
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgressions. Mark 11:25.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving your only begotten Son to go to the cross to pay the price for my sin and separation so I am forgiven and know I will spend eternity in your presence. Thank you, too, for teaching me that I am to forgive as I have been forgiven. I confess that too often that is not the standard I use in forgiving others. Please help me to follow every step of your lead so I do, in fact, forgive others just as I have been forgiven. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you accepted God’s forgiveness so you know you will spend the rest of eternity in His presence? If no, why do you want to remain separated from God? If you are a Christian with the assurance or salvation, redemption, and forgiveness, how are you doing with forgiving others just as you have been forgiven? If you sense the need for change in how you view your forgiveness and/or how you forgive others, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why no?