Tuesday, May 31, 2011
The Lord's Prayer
Today, I read once again, the Lord's prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. It is my firm conviction that most Christians like to quote this prayer and even pray it..... but most do not adhere to it. Or maybe that depends on how you define the word "Christian." It seems to me that the true Christian and the Lord's prayer are in many ways synonymous. In this I find myself coming up short for I do not believe that I have mastered what Jesus meant when he said that we should forgive our debtors. In verse 14 He clarifies it, "those who have sinned against us."
For some reason it is always easier to see the other guy's sin and feel the pain of it when he has wronged us or dissed us. But our own sins and wrong doing we are able to rationalize and for some reason doesn't quite fall into the catagory of "sin." Perhaps the biggest sin is not forgiving those who have sinned against us. We expect God to forgive us, yet, we feel no inclination to forgive others. At least I struggle with this from time to time.
Many years ago, in my former life, when I wast pastoring a church in North Dakota, an evangelist whom I invited to minister in my church betrayed me and spread stories about me to the congregation. When I confronted him he tried to kick me out of my own house. A long story short, I was forced to leave the church as irreparable damage had been done. Nothing he said about me was true and I became bitter and angry.
I began pastoring another church after a few months, but the anger stayed with me. It wasn't until one night I prayed through that I received peace. God dealt with me about forgiving that man, and it wasn't until I was able to forgive him that true peace came to my soul.
Lessons learned don't always stay learned. As life goes on new conflicts can and do arise. Soon we are back where we were before; harboring ill will and unforgivingness in our hearts. The unforgivingness hurts us more than those we don't forgive. Today, the Lord's prayer brought this back into focus and made me realize that I have some work to do. My prayer is to make me a forgiving person. To do that I know I need to walk closer to God.