And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (Matt 6:12)
When I learned these collected verses in Scripture, more commonly known as "The Lord's Prayer", it was never explained to me - "just learn it". They were words mumbled without emotion. When I look at this verse today, I see the essence of forgiveness. It does not represent a chain of events that occur because God forgives me. It's not "God forgive me and I'll forgive others". The reality of this verse (which I prayed many, many times) is that God will forgive us in the same way we forgive others. We are commanded to forgive! What we don't forgive in others, is not forgiven in us. Jesus' words, not mine.
All through his teaching on forgiveness, Jesus reminds us that we are to forgive EVERYONE and we are to forgive EVERYTHING! There is nothing so great that cannot be forgiven. We tend to think that by being saved we are automatically forgiven for what we do whether we ask for forgiveness or not. We can do whatever we please, hurt whoever we want, take whatever we need...we consider it a "given". It may be a "given", but is it "forgiven"???
We are made in the image of the Father. We walk a path that is often strewn with thorns and rocks, potholes and crevices, and yet we still manage to get from one place to another on our journey. We get there by the grace of God. These obstacles build faith and character. There are many people along that path that throw rocks at us. They trip us and distract us. We must forgive them in order to proceed. They don't need to accept our apology or our forgiveness, but we need to offer it. Our forgiveness comes from the Father. In the same way that Christ offered forgiveness for his executioners, "Father, forgive them", we, too, must offer that same unconditional forgiveness. If Christ could forgive those who nailed him to that tree, we can forgive that "lapse in judgment" of those around us. Sometimes what we see as innocuous, other see as injurious. Once again, perspective takes the lead.
Forgive as you wish to be forgiven. Let go of the "sin" that binds you to the enemy. Let go of what holds you back from experiencing the true joy and love that comes from the Father. Allow the Holy Spirit to lift the vail of torment from your soul and let the blood, once again, wash over you. Rejoice in the power that is in forgiving. Stand at the foot of his cross and you can forgive anything!