We were visiting a church where it’s their custom to recite the Lord’s Prayer — you know, those words Jesus said immediately after telling his disciples not to repeat the same words over and over again — in unison while standing. I can usually do this with eyes closed since it is a prayer, but need to refer to the projected words when they reach the part about forgiveness to see if they say,
- forgive us our trespasses…
- forgive us our debts
instead, they chose this wording:
- forgive us our sins
which is, after all, at the heart of the prayer that we could word,
- Help us to forgive others even as we have experienced forgiveness.
But “sins?” Sin is missing the mark of God’s standards, so how can people sin “against us?” Then I realized that this wording has in it the quality of the judgement that God (rightly) could hold against us versus the judgement that we (not always rightly) might bring about someone else.
In other words,
- Forgive us for the times we don’t measure up to Your standards just as we forgive others who don’t measure up to our standards.
So do we do that?
I think it’s easier to forgive debts and trespasses than to forgive those who don’t meet our personal criteria of… whatever it is.
Romans 15 (AMP) :7 Welcome and receive [to your hearts] one another, then, even as Christ has welcomed and received you, for the glory of God.
Related post:Nothing But The Best (March, 2008) – A look at the criteria we set for our churches.