Friday, February 5, 2010

Forgive us Our Sins As We . . . What?!

Have you been faced with . . . 
   * wanting to forgive, but the person who wronged you denies or minimizes their offense, or
     *  knew you needed to forgive but you didn't feel capable of it?
And have you . . . 
     * wanted to receive forgiveness, but it wasn't offered, or
       * received forgiveness when you knew it was immensely difficult to the one who offers it? 

In the Lord's Prayer, Jesus teaches us one of the hardest prayers for us to say with complete sincerity,
Forgive us our sins 
as we 
forgive those who sin against us

It's the "as we" that hits us between the eyes.  If we were just asking for forgiveness for ourselves - and sure, we could ask God to forgive those who sin against us - that would be one thing.  But he ties the two aspects of forgiveness together, 
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, 
your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 
But if you do not forgive men their sins, 
your Father will not forgive your sins.

What is there about un-forgiveness that short-circuits God's forgiveness for us?   Is it that grace, after all, is somehow earned - or perhaps withdrawn depending on whether we forgive others or not?  Or is there something deeper going on?  I opt for the second option and that's what we'll discuss in this week's message. 

I'll also be sharing a clip from a film that impacted me profoundly when I saw it recently.  It's called As We Forgive (trailer here), and it shares the true, contemporary story of Rwandans who were called to forgive those who participated in the genocide of over one million of their brothers and sisters in 1994.  If you've ever struggled to forgive something terrible, you'll want to see it.  If you need to sense God's forgiveness in new ways, join worship at CHBC this Sunday. 
- Curtis