Forgive The Other Person First

My wife had a question. She received a devotional email. It quoted C.S. Lewis. “We believe that God forgives us our sins; but also that He will not do so unless we forgive other people their sins against us.” It is strongly worded that way in the Lord’s Prayer, said Lewis.

We believe that God forgives us our sins; but also that He will not do so unless we forgive other people their sins against us.

In the first place, she was raised a Baptist. They taught you didn’t memorize prayers. You “prayed from the heart.” So, remembering all the Lord’s Prayer isn’t necessarily easy for her.

My thought was that Lewis was denying the forgiveness of sins that comes along with salvation. That didn’t sound like Lewis.

We decided that Lewis wasn’t talking about that. But he was talking on a practical, day-to-day level about our interaction with other people.

And forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors.

We looked at the phrase. I said, first off this is a petition. Jesus is telling us we can petition God to forgive all the things we have done wrong.

But, said  Jesus, first we have already forgiven our debtors. Look at the order of the words. We ask God to forgive us in the same manner in which we have already forgiven those who have wronged us.

Do we forget that part of the equation? Do we just jump in and ask for forgiveness without considering the other part? Is it all about us?

Actually, do we really ask for forgiveness at all?

Psychologists would call this emotional maturity. God would point to spiritual growth.

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