And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matthew 6:12 NRSV)
In the Lord's Prayer in the 6th Chapter of Matthew, Jesus urges us to ask for forgiveness. "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."
I remember a story about a man who said to his minister, "Preacher, I can't pray that prayer. I can't pray that prayer because there's somebody I don't want to forgive. As the pastor listened to this man, he discovered that this man had been holding a grudge against another man for thirty years. The man said, "I will not be able to pray that prayer until I first get even with this man who hurt me thirty years ago." The minister said, "Why this is old, and he may die anytime. What if he dies before you get even?" He said, "Then I'll take it out on his son."
An unforgiving spirit is bitterness. Forgiveness is sweet, but an unforgiving spirit is bitterness. Jesus taught us the way to live is the way of forgiveness. Jesus practiced forgiveness Himself. I remember one time the scripture tells us about four men bringing a man who was paralyzed to Jesus. The room was filled, and so they took off the tiles of the roof, and they let the man down into the presence of Jesus. Jesus healed the man, and then He said, "Your sins are forgiven."
Ask, and you will find the sweetness of forgiveness!
God of forgiveness, help me to know the joy of forgiveness. In Jesus name, Amen.