Our Lords Prayer continued….
FORGIVE US OUR SIN (TRESPASSES). Ps 32:1 Blessed is he whose sins are forgiven, whose sin is covered (NIV). The concept of sin has been normalized. Sin is no longer bad. None of us want to face the reality of being HELL-DESERVING. Quite often, we think of thieves, sorcerers, drunkards, rapists, etc as sinners. But we are not guilty of these heinous sins! We lead descent lives, we are respectable, we have no criminal record. It’s them that are sinners, not us. So, we miss the joy of being forgiven. But what is our understanding of sin? There are five different New Testament words for sin.
1. Hamartia. It is a shooting word, which means, to miss the target. So, failing to be what we are supposed to be or not realizing our potential is sin. We are all potential good husbands, wives, sons, daughters, doctors, teachers, pastors, businessmen & women etc etc. Have we literally missed our target?
2. Parabasis. Stepping across the line drawn between right and wrong. Sometimes this line is so thin that we don’t notice it and we often find ourselves on the wrong side. Think about truth, falsehood; faithfulness, unfaithfulness; honesty, dishonesty. Where are we likely to be?
3. Paraptōma. Slip across, as in a slippery floor where we have no control. Sin here is not as deliberate as Parabasis. How often do we hurt our friends unawares?
4. Anomia. Lawlessness. Here we know the law and deliberately breaks it. We have a natural tendency to do what we like.
5. Opheilēma. Debt. Failing to pay what is due or failing in our duty. Who among us can claim to have successfully fulfilled our duties. This is the context of the Lord’s prayer. We have no option but to pray, FORGIVE US OUR SINS.
FORGIVE US OUR SINS (TRESPASSES).
The above paragraph has different words that are used in the New Testament to refer to sin. These words are to help us see how easy it is for someone to fall into sin. It is possible that we can work extra hard to stay free from deliberate sin. But is it easy to lose control from time to time?
This notwithstanding, let us not forget our connectedness to each other and think in terms of corporate sin and pray forgive US OUR trespasses. This is because as we observed in the beginning, this prayer ushers us into a family relationship and when we see ourselves as such, then his/her sin is truly my sin. And so I begin to ask myself, what was my contribution to the sin committed. Could it be that I cause my brother or my sister to lose control and fall into sin? Or could it be that my actions prevented him/her from realizing his/her God given potential?
When we start thinking this way, we become more responsible for our actions and responsive to the needs of those who have fallen into sin. When his sin becomes my sin, I am bothered, and I’ll take responsibility. Nehemiah, is one such man who took responsibility for the sin of his entire nation and prayed, let your ear be attentive and eyes open to hear the prayer of your servant … confessing the sin of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Both I and my family have sinned Neh 1:6,7.
Praying forgive us our sins helps us to see incidents of our personal and corporate sin as interconnected. Then we shall have no room for individual chauvinism. And social evils we are witnessing today as a result of our individual and corporate sin, will be our corporate concern.
AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASSES AGAINST US.
This part is more scaring because our forgiveness is pegged on our ability to forgive others. Thinking about forgive us/me in proportion as we/I forgive others makes me feel like omitting this particular petition as I say the Lord’s prayer. The truth however, is that we’ve got to swallow the bitter pill and confront this reality.
When we say, I shall never forgive so and so for what s/he did to me, do we expect the Lord to forgive us? The truth is that our forgiveness of our friends cannot be separated from the forgiveness God extends to us. So before praying this petition we need to examine the condition of our hearts. Are we ready to forgive so that we can be forgiven?
When we forgive, we conquer our ego and learn to put ourselves in the situations of our friends. This is where the golden rule applies in its totality. Do unto others as you would have them do to you. If we would like to be forgiven, we must deliberately learn the following things.
1. We learn to understand. This helps us put ourselves in the position of those who have failed us and realize that we too are potential defaulters.
2. We learn to forget. Forgiving is one thing and forgetting is another thing altogether. Forgetting means not keeping the wrong committed on us.
3. We learn to love. When we love, it will not be difficult to forgive. Love is the fulfillment of the law John 15:12. It does not rejoice in wrongdoings (1Cor 13:6).
to be continued……..