Jesus taught us, saying: ‘For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive you.’ Matthew 6:14–15
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. 1 Corinthians 13:5 (Amplified)
So at my new little (re: tiny) school we have chapel every morning and every afternoon. Except on Wednesdays, when we have a full Eucharist service where each member of the community receives the bread and wine or a blessing. And mostly we use versions of the New Zealand Prayer book, but sometimes we pray together other liturgical pieces and then we have a cheery talk on the word of the week like “honesty” or “excellence” that somehow always ties in with the Scripture.
And one of the Lord’s Prayers that we say together includes the line In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
So I think about that a lot.
Asking forgiveness for noticing when others do us wrong.
And because I hang out with Everette some, I am reminded a lot of God’s tender love for His children. Let me tell you, I take no account of her slights. My eyes and heart are only seeing the good, the adorable belovedness of her. And that does not mean I do not for one moment think ol’ Everette is perfect. And yep, she thinks everything is about her and she sometimes yanks a toy away that she wants now. Right now. But I have no expectations that she is perfect. She is a little human, making her way through this big, beautiful, but often uncomfortable world.
And I love her.
And this is the love the Father has for us, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He totally gets that we don’t exactly know what we are doing. And He forgives us.
And that “thinketh no evil,” “hardly even notices when it has been wronged” part of love is to be my love.
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.
Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Judge not, and you will not be judged;
Condemn not, and you will not be condemned;
Forgive, and you will be forgiven;
Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.
And last night some of us gathered together to celebrate the completion of the twelfth step by a faithful friend. But really none of us ever complete that step because it is all about practicing these principles in all of the affairs of our lives.
That practicing word again. Over and over. Brushing off our knees if we stumble and keep moving forward, our hearts set on pilgrimage.
And our friend is a huge proponent of all Christians being part of a twelve-step program. Because it is all about truth-telling in community.
We, in ourselves, are powerless. We make a decision to turn our will and lives over the care of God. We make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. Humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings. Make amends. When we are wrong, promptly admit it. Pray for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. Having walked through this spiritual awakening, continue to practice these principles in all of the affairs of our lives.
And last night lightening blasted across the mountain peaks. And the glowing ease with which the two tables full of folks who loved this man mingled spoke volumes, even louder than the rumbling thunder overhead. Living lightly, not packing up hurts and slights and offenses and issues and wrongs and lugging them through life, well, is a commandment. And like all the other commandments, it is for our own wellbeing.
Because we are the beloved sons and daughters of the Most High, a merciful and compassionate Father of Light who gives only good gifts.
And give, and it will likewise be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.