The prayer we know as “The Lord’s Prayer” or the “Our Father” can be found in two of the four canonical gospels – Matthew and Luke – and, although translations vary, the wording of the two is virtually the same. What differs are the verses that follow. Luke, chapter 11, gives an example of what Jesus meant by telling a story. Today we have Matthew’s version which tells people how they are to act when doing spiritual practice – not looking gloomy and neglecting their appearance so people know they are fasting, etc. (That always makes me smile as I know how easy it is to moan to let others know when I am in pain from some small injury or distress…). I noticed something in between Matthew’s directives this morning, however, that surprised me and made me wonder if I will ever have a new thought that doesn’t touch on our relationships in today’s world situation. (See the past few entries of this blog.)
After the “forgive us our debts/trespasses as we forgive…and deliver us from evil” lines and before the “don’t be gloomy,” there is an extra push on forgiveness. If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions. If we judge by the amount of text given to a thought, the necessity of forgiveness seems to win out over every other action in this prayer.
So once again today, I guess there is need to look at how easily – or not – I forgive. And here is another possibility. I have recently been made aware of a website entitled healthbeyondbelief.com of John Newton, a distance healer. To begin, one might choose to read – often – his Comprehensive Forgiveness Prayer for Ourselves. If this is an introduction for you to such a concept, it might seem a bit extreme, but I recommend openmindedness.
Whatever works, I suggest reflection once more on the issue of forgiving and allowing ourselves to be forgiven. It’s a big topic but worth the time.