Monday, September 30, 2019

Understanding the Lord’s Prayer (7): Forgive Us Our Trespasses As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us

We ask for this because we have the tendency to sin. Even though we have been baptized we still can sin. We need His forgiveness . But The Lord made this request conditional. If we expect God to forgive us we must be willing to forgive others. So we are only asking to be forgiven as we are able to forgive others.

Jesus told us 
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you. But if you do not forgive  men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." [Matt. 6:14-15]
Jesus also tells us that “whoever is angry with his brother without good cause shall be liable for judgment” Mat 5:22.

Jesus gives us this message again in the parable of the unforgiving servant (Mat 18:23-35). It’s very clear that our failure to forgive others is to willfully alienate ourselves from God.

Our petition for mercy is contingent on the mercy we are able to show others. Here we are not asking for any more than what He has told us He is willing to give. We can also think that this request means to help us in our ability to forgive those who trespass against us. We need this help to receive the full mercy of God.

Saint John Cassian writes
Whoever, then, does not from his heart forgive the brother who has offended him, will, by this entreaty, be asking not for pardon but for condemnation for himself, and by his own say-so he will be requesting a harsher judgment for himself when he says: Forgive me as I also have forgiven....If we wish to be judged mercifully, we must ourselves be merciful towards those who have offended us. For we shall be forgiven to the degree that we have forgiven those who have injured us by any wrongdoing whatsoever.9th Conference p344
We are asking to become like God who is all merciful, ever ready to forgive us. We want to imitate Him and follow how He taught His disciples.

Saint Cyril says,
He requires, therefore, His disciples to be gentle (2 Tim. 2: 24) and slow to anger (Jam. 1: 9), so that they may be able to say blamelessly in their prayers, "Forgive us our sins: for we also forgive everyone that is indebted unto us."
God’s mercy is given to all those who are humble. It is given to those who accept God as their Lord, who seek to do .his will, and who search in themselves all the ways they fail to live up to His commandments. The know themselves. But, they are not arrogant thinking themselves superior to others, standing ready to condem others for their sinfulness or refusinfpg to forgive those who have trespassed against them.

Saint Cyril,
For God readily accepts, and has mercy on those who do not forget their offenses, but fall down before Him, and ask of Him forgiveness: but He is severe, and very justly so, upon the stubborn and the proud, and on him who in his great ignorance acquits himself of blame. For He said to one thus disposed, "Behold, I have a suit against you, because you say, I have not sinned" (Jer. 2: 35).
The road then to salvation, and which delivers those who earnestly walk thereon from the wrath of God, is the confession of offenses, and to say in our prayers to Him Who purifies the wicked, "Forgive us our sins."

In addition we can not forget the judgement of God. Those who acknowledge their sins and are merciful to others we be shown mercy at the time of judgment. If we are not willing to face all the ways we miss the mark, and satisfied to continue in our sinful ways, are not worth of His kingdom. Such a person can’t recite this petition..

Saint Cyril,
it is not fitting for those who still continue in wickedness, and wish to do so to the last, to say, "Forgive us our sins," but for those, rather, who have abandoned their former wicked deeds, and now earnestly desire to live fitting of saints.....this is fitting only for those to say, who have chosen a virtuous life, and are practicing without remissness that will of God, which, as Scripture says, is "good and acceptable and perfect" (Rom. 12: 2).....
by thus forgiving the brethren what they do to us, we shall then certainly find Christ, the Savior of all, gentle and ready to show us mercy:

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