Day Eighteen- Journal

Posted by in The Prayer Experiment

Matthew 6:12: “Forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors.”

I learned the longest word that I could possibly pronounce in 5th grade. It was “antidisestablishmentarianism.” What’s crazy is that it didn’t get underlined as a misspelled word in Microsoft Word just now! I googled (googled was underlined) the “longest word” and it came up as “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis” which means a lung disease caused by the inhalation of very fine silica dust, causing inflammation in the lungs. I hope that I never get that for several reasons. In this short verse in Matthew 6, there’s a big word that might surprise you. It’s not lengthy, but it’s gigantic in meaning. It won’t take a lot of time to speak it, just a lifetime to do it. It’s the brilliant word: “as.”

The greatest relational need of man is forgiveness. It hits at the core of all relationships. If you’ve ever been related, you’ve had to forgive. This prayer is audacious on two fronts: first, when we ask God to forgive we are asking him not to exercise justice. “Don’t give me what I deserve.” Secondly, we are asking God to give us mercy- “Father, not only do not give me what I deserve, but give me what I don’t deserve- life with you.” The brilliance of Jesus is when He throws in the gigantic two-letter clause “as.”

What is going on in my heart when I refuse to forgive others? I am demanding that justice be done. “That person hurt me deeply and deserves justice.” I do not want the other person to experience mercy and I certainly do not want to extend grace. Are those two movements of the heart compatible? No. How can we expect God to forgive us of our incredible debt to him if we are unwilling to forgive others? Along with the commandments of God come enablements. This petition is empowering—hidden beneath the surface is a request for the ability to forgive. We are never more like Jesus than when we forgive.

Praying the fifth petition of this prayer is bold. It’s a slap in the face to the victim-mentality of our nation. There are no victims left after true forgiveness. Would you call God a victim? So, not only is this two-letter word, “as” enormous, but so is this simple three-word sentence—“I forgive you.”

What makes the phrase, “I forgive you” so powerful?

Why is it so hard to say?

Who do you need to extend forgiveness to?

What happens if we don’t forgive others? Is God right in doing this? Why?

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