Confirmation – The Lord’s Prayer 6: Forgive us

 

“To forgive is to set the prisoner free and to discover that the prisoner was you.” (Lewis Smedes).

Forgiveness is a big topic! ‘Forgive us as we forgive those who sin against us’ – now that’s huge (read it slowly … what is it really saying???)

Dear confirmees & Parents,

We are in week 6 of our journal (page 62,63). I have to help a lot of people overcome grievances, disappointments, anger, even hate – all basically forms of being unforgiving. The interesting thing is that as we hold things over and against others, they ironically get a hold on us! Have you noticed that as long as you stay angry about something, the longer and deeper it takes up residency in your thoughts, emotions, even your actions. Sometimes people avoid talking to me, or pretend that they didn’t see me, because of their own guilt. As a Pastor I have to wear that – people often reflect onto me their own unresolved issues because they haven’t worked through the problem they have with forgiveness.

I had that happen recently, and there is nothing that I have done. But they haven’t been at church basically since they finished college. Now they have a different life and different interests. But when we encountered each other at the Arts Centre, he looked away pretending not to notice me. Guilt can rise up in a person, even when there might only be perceived issues. What do you do then? It made me feel sad, because I had no intention of challenging him on his life choices – that’s the work of the Holy Spirit in him.

Forgiveness, I mean truly forgiving someone, is to let go of the issue that is bothering you. It is handing it over to God, because you realise that you cannot sort it out on your own. It is also coming to a point in your hurt and pain, your disappointment and anger, that you realise your approach doesn’t change anything. How does forgiveness change anything ?

Have a look at the questions to ponder on page 64. There are some pretty good questions to talk about at home. As you work through the third question, before you do anything, pray about the situation you have in mind and especially pray for the people involved. This part of the Lord’s Prayer gets very personal doesn’t it – Parents need to give some counsel, advice, and lots of understanding.

You can use the prayer in the margin to finish off your discussion time. Then enjoy the FAITH 5 during the week. I like the one for Day #3 based on Romans 12:17 … read the verses that follow (in your Bible) and think about your previous or current actions.

Every blessing for your faith discussions,

Pastor Dirk

 

Another thought on this part of the prayer.

“Forgive us our debt, as we have also forgiven our debtors …

It’s interesting that the old version of this prayer has ‘trespasses’ or ‘sins,’ and here it is translated with a financial term. How does debt and indebtedness help us to understand the nature and effect of sin? Have you noticed that Jesus in this prayer links our petition for forgiveness with our actions towards others?