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FORGIVE

The Lord's Prayer is divided into six couplets. The first teaches about God's nature.
The second asks for his will to be done now. The third asks him to provide for our
material needs. Now we are looking at the fourth couplet. It asks him to forgive
our mistakes. The first line of the two is "and forgive us our debts," our trespasses.

There are several dynamics in this short phrase. The first is the admission that we need forgiving. The next is that God has the power to forgive. Also, it assumes God is
inclined to forgive. Overall it is a confession that we are fallible. "Occasionally" we
have made some noticeable mistakes.

The petition for forgiveness ties to Jesus' Beatitudes. It relates to most of them. For .
us to admit faults and ask for forgiveness, the key Beatitude attitudes must be felt. .
To ask for forgiveness, one would be poor in spirit, mourning, meek, searching for .
righteousness, merciful, seeking purity of heart and also wanting to be a peacemaker.

Of course, asking for forgiveness can be done from the fear of expected or deserved .
divine punishment. However, the prayer doesn't require a particular motive. It just.
requests God to forgive our mistakes. The fact that we ask God for forgiveness .
acknowledges his power and primacy. .

On a more general basis, here we acknowledge that there is some proper order for all.
of us. The prayer says, "forgive us our debts." The plural pronoun of us implies .
that all people have fallen short of God's requirements. All are in the same boat. .

We have a commonality as humans standing before God. None of us is better than .
another. If we all have fallen short of God's requirements and need his forgiveness, .
what are our shortcomings? Do you know yours?

WILL

"Thy will be done." Let me ask you a question. Assuming you are going to the Spirit
world - Heaven - after you die, what are you going to do for eternity? Do you know?
Have you thought about it? I know what I am going to do in the hereafter Heaven.
I am going to do what I am told to do. I am going to do what God tells me to do.
I am going to be obedient to his "will".

Doing God's will is a choice, of sorts, in this world. It becomes a necessity in the world to come. The world to come, Heaven in the hereafter sense, is called "Paradise." Life there, we assume, will be trouble free and always in the presence of God. There we think we will be bathed in God's love, and always be carefree and joyful.

Do you have any reason to dispute that picture of life after death? Maybe you are not sure of what the living conditions will be in that later heaven, but you know you will not be in control. Don't you? You do know you will need to do what you are told to do. Don't you? I do!

In this prayer phrase, we are agreeing with the inevitable. God's will shall be done because he is God and he has the power to cause anything to happen. Honestly spoken, this phrase is our intellectual commitment to submit to God's will as we can best understand it and conform to it. Here we admit God has a will and we will follow it if we can figure out how. Instinctively, or at least hopefully, we think God can show us his will.

Now this part of the prayer becomes more than a thoughtless liturgy. It is our acknowledgement that God is real, alive, and has a will. We are agreeing to accept and implement his will. Now we wonder, what is supposed to happen next?

WORKS

The good news about a life of faith in God's kingdom is that he is in control. Along with his authority over you, he continues to have responsibility for you. It is as if he says to you, "The buck stops here." God is working for your well being.

When you took Jesus' teachings seriously, and accepted them for your way of life, you won God's protection. From then on you became God's responsibility. He is your protector. You know this from the "Lord's Prayer." God is your Abba, Daddy. You do not need to do more religious works to prod him.

Rituals, liturgies, prayer formulas, piety, or special knowledge are not needed. He is working in your life because he loves you, and not because of what you do. All your Father wants from you is acknowledgment that he is the source of your good fortune. He appreciates your gratitude.

Living in God's Kingdom of Heaven is that simple. All you say is, "God is God, and I am his child, and he is taking care of me. I will do my best and he will make all things work out for good." For some people, that is too simple.

Faith is accepting life as it is, without complaint. It is knowing God will work out all things for your benefit, sooner or later. Lack of faith is losing trust in God's willingness to protect you and pour his love and providence into your life. God never forgets a name. He will never leave you or forsake you. Your name is engraved in his mind.

When things are not going according to your plans, you can become frustrated. Things are not supposed to work out according to your plans. Don't forget, you turned yourself over to him some time ago. Final planning is in his hands, not yours. No amount of religious works can change that.

 



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