What does it mean to forgive? What part does honesty play in the process? To forgive is to grant a pardon, turn over a new leaf. The need for such forgiveness arises where tension exists, where a wrong has been done. Forgiveness restores a relationship. It is an act of love and mercy. In the Lord’s Prayer, we ask for forgiveness and promise to forgive others.
God in His mercy extends His undeserved kindness towards us. How able are we though to fulfill our side of the bargain? As sinners standing in need of forgiveness ourselves, do we have the honest capacity to extend such pardon to others? Even though we love our neighbor as ourselves, does that love, along with our desire to forgive, make us honest in the process? Our own forgiveness depends on how well we forgive others.
In Matthew 6:14-15 we read “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Therefore, failing to forgive our neighbors is not an option! If we ask for forgiveness for ourselves, then we must grant forgiveness. The Psalmist prays. “Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my thoughts.” Shouldn’t we do the same, to be honest in our act of forgiving?
Since God knows our innermost thoughts, how well do we know our inner selves? How well do we understand our motives in terms with what God requires of us? This thorough self-knowledge keeps us honest about ourselves, why and how to forgive others. It enables us to overcome our ego and be true to ourselves when we take that bold step to be honest when we grant forgiveness.
Scripture: “If you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:15, NRSV).
Friends and members of our Christ Church family have prepared these daily reflections as a means for you to consider how forgiveness informs your faith walk during this holy season. They are a richly diverse group from many different geographies around our nation and globe, formed by a wide variety of traditions.