Matthew 6:5-15 — Seeing Our Own Sins and Forgiving Those Who Sin Against Us—Simple Words, Tall Order!

Posted: October 19, 2015 in 40-Gospel of Matthew, The Lord's Prayer

Matthew 6:5-15
Blueprint for Prayer (The Lord’s Prayer)

The next phrase that Jesus says we should make part of our prayers is a petition to the Father in heaven about sin. Jesus says, “And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” As you can see here, there are two parts to this statement. First, we must ask God to forgive us for our sins, our trespasses, and, second, we must forgive those who have sinned against us. Short phrases but it seems these are pretty tall orders for us to live out not only in our prayers but in our actions as well. The first part requires honesty. The second part requires humility.

Father, forgive us our trespasses. Most of us have blind spots here. We have no problem pointing out the sins of others. However, it is our sin that is the most difficult to admit. It is funny that we do not see our sins but yet we live with them 24/7/365. We live with our sins all the time but yet we refuse to see them. We can point out the sins of others while not living in their skin but we are unable to deal with our own. In order to ask for forgiveness of our sins, we first must recognize that there is a sin or sins in our lives. Just as an alcoholic or a drug addict must admit that they have a problem before they can begin recovery, it is the absolute same for us when it comes to sin. The alcoholic or drug addict has a tendency to refuse to admit they have a problem so that they can continue drinking or using. Addiction is a sly disease. It makes you justify behavior as someone else’s fault. It makes you rationalize bad behavior. It makes you justify how that behavior was not beyond the line. All of this is done so that the addict can continue to dance with their true love, alcohol or drugs, even though this harlot strings them along in search of that perfect high that never comes. Our sins are the same. We justify our sins as not being like other people’s sins. Our sins are OK. We have a reason for our sin. We have valid justifications to sin. Admitting that we have sinned is as big a struggle as it is for the alcoholic or drug addict to admit that they have a problem. In order to admit that we have sinned, we must first have to be honest with ourselves. We must quit lying to ourselves. Just as the alcoholic and drug addict knows that they have gone beyond the line many times, we as sinners must admit and be honest with ourselves that there is no rationalization that will take away that we have sinned. The person that is having an affair with another woman who is not his wife has knowledge that they are sinning against God.

We are programmed by God to know the difference between right and wrong. We are programmed by God to know that have sexual intercourse with a woman who is not your wife is wrong. We do not have to be told this fact. We know it. We know it even if we are not a Christ follower. But yet an adulterer will rationalize away the wrong so that he can continue the sin. Admitting we have sinned takes honesty. We must take a cold, hard look at ourselves and be honest. Sin is a liar. It blinds us. We must have the honesty to say that we have sinned. Just as a child often has to come to their parents with their pride in their hand and admit their wrongs to their parent so that they can be restored to their parent’s love. God wants to shower us with His love but He expects obedience from us. When we disobey Him, we must be honest enough to admit when we are wrong and that we have actually disobeyed him. Honesty leads us to come to Him and ask forgiveness. Is there a sin you are justifying so that you can continue practicing? For example, have you noticed how much more justification is required to make the practice of homosexuality and gay marriage acceptable? Gay marriage requires reams of editorials in papers. It takes television documentaries. It takes an Oprah Winfrey special. It takes the media giving it air time and dedicating whole shows about how it is right and wholesome. It takes court cases to enforce that such behavior is justifiable. Just think of the billions of dollars that are spent each year on justifying the lifestyle. However, male-female marriage keeps right on chugging along without fanfare and without the need for defense. It needs no defense. It is right and honorable and it is glorifying to God. It needs no defense. The truth does not need an alibi. The truth needs no defense. When we sin, we justify it. We go to great lengths often to protect our right to sin. We spend money and spend webs of lies to make it sound justifiable. Adulterers may be in bad marriages but adultery is a sin. There is no justification for violating God’s law. No matter how you cut, slice, dice or justify it. Sin is sin. Some sins are blatant and out and out there such as theft, greed, adultery and so on. However, we sin against God daily and it is often subtle but yet no less powerful the control it has over us. We even justify before God the sins that we commit that no one else sees. Admitting that we sin is the toughest thing. Admitting that we have a sin problem is a problem. When we sin, we must admit first that what we have done is a sin. Honesty is painful. Honesty leads us to the cross. We must admit that we are out of control and that we need help. Honesty is the beginning of forgiveness from the Lord. We cannot overcome our addiction to our sins until we are honest enough about ourselves to admit that we cannot control our sin nature. Honesty is the beginning of recovery. Honesty is the beginning of redemption.

Equally, we are called to forgive others for their transgressions, their trespasses, their sins against us. How difficult is that? Pride sure does get in the way of that. Wow, Lord, you want me to forgive my ex-spouse and her lover? Wow, Lord, you want you me to forgive the man who was driving drunk that killed my family in a car wreck? Wow, Lord, you want me to forgive my business partner who screwed me over in a business deal? You want me to forgive my son or daughter whose drug addiction has cost me thousands upon thousands of dollars and uncountable heartache? You want me to forgive the thief who stole from me without reason? You want me to forgive others who have just reamed me a new one for no reason other than the joy of doing it. You want me to do this over and over again. I once heard that saying that forgiving is forgetting. And to a certain extent I think this is wrong. Forgiving is remembering but choosing to forgive anyway. At some point you may forget, but forgiveness happens while we are remembering. True forgiveness requires humility on our part. Pride often prolongs forgiveness and restoration. Pride wants revenge. Pride want my ego to be massaged by the offender. Pride wants to wallow in the pain and suffering caused. Pride wants martyrdom for the suffering we have been caused. Just look at what my ex-husband did to me. How many wives and husbands have been consumed by pride when their spouse commits adultery. They become so consumed by the offense that it destroys their lives because the offense becomes their god. Sometimes, we become so obsessed with the offense that it consumes us. When we get so obsessed with the offense, we let others live rent free in our heads. We inadvertently let our pride become our god. Forgiveness does not mean that we let people walk all over us. It means though that we leave the hurt at the cross and ask God to deal with it and help us overcome it. It does not mean we continue to let people walk all over us. We may need to learn to reduce their access to our lives but it does not mean that we hold on to the hate. It does mean that we pray for that person. It does mean that we pray that they will come to understand the sin that they have committed against us. It does mean that we leave it at the cross on not let it consume us and let it get in the way of our relationship with God. Forgiveness means remembering but forgiving any way. Forgiveness requires humility. What if God never forgave our sins? He has a right to do that? He knows our sins. He remembers. He loves us anyway though. He remembers and forgives when we seek forgiveness from Him. Help us to demonstrate His love to others through our remembering but yet forgiving.

Father, forgive us our sins as we forgive those you sin against us. Simple words. Tall order. Honesty required. Humility required.

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