The Lord’s Prayer, Part 4

10.13.2019 Rev. Jennifer Hageman
(please click on the link above to view the sermon on Facebook)

Forgiveness. That is a topic I am sure we have all struggled with at one time or another, myself included. I am not proud of it. Yesterday’s lesson brought many things into perspective for me. Pastor Jen’s sermon series on The Lord’s Prayer continues this week with “Forgive Us as We Forgive,” bringing to light the portion of the prayer where we are to beseech God to forgive our trespasses (or sins, or debts…) as we forgive the trespasses of others, or as the pastor says, “forgiveness and the grace to forgive.”

 The example of the servant who owed his master an unimaginable amount of money only to have his debt forgiven who immediately demanded a much smaller amount from a fellow servant without the same grace that was shown to him is a parable of God’s forgiveness of our transgressions, and the grace He can give us to forgive others.

Pastor Jen relays some of the barriers to forgiveness: deep pain which can resurface even after we think we have forgiven the offender; pride which can be crippling or all-consuming (Who can forget the quote, “Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”? –source of quote in question); or family and friends who encourage our estrangement by fanning the flame of unforgiveness. She brought to mind studies done on the effects of unforgiveness or resentment which found it can shorten our lives, as well as causing the spiritual weakening of our relationship with God, the poisoning of our memories, and allowing others to have undue control over our lives, which are a very high price to pay to hold onto pain, anger, and resentment. “This is not the life God wants for us,” says Pastor Jen.

Here’s another tie-in to previous lessons, and many other of God’s lessons: we are to seek forgiveness daily, as we seek our daily bread, and also as we seek the grace to forgive others daily. Why is forgiveness contingent upon forgiving? The love of God cannot enter an unforgiving heart, and resentment, anger, and pain block the flow of grace and forgiveness. Here’s another gem, and one that goes against popular sentiment: forgiveness does not mean excusing someone, not holding them responsible, or exposing ourselves to further harm, something I have been learning over the last few years. Forgiveness is an act of healing for both parties, the one harmed and the one who did the harm, continued the pastor, and it brings divine blessing and peace, releases burdens, and breaks the chains. It is the evidence of God’s renewing grace in our lives. The pastor closes with, “Through forgiveness, God’s kingdom is expanded and His name hallowed, weaving the prayer together. It readjusts our vision to God’s vision.”

Although I give a brief synopsis of the week’s sermons, I can in no way give the nuances, references, or humor brought to the lesson given by Pastor Jen. If you are unable to attend the Sunday service in person, please visit our Facebook page to view it in its entirety, including all of the praise music, choir performances, and almost everything you would get from being there. Disclaimer: Facebook has not perfected the virtual hug, so get one in person if you are at all able.